This month, we are paying tribute to our moms. In many ways, in-home care is about celebrating our elders and what they’ve done in life and continue to do for us, for others and for their communities. More often than not, our mothers play a significant role in how we view the world. We thought that sharing how they’ve helped members of the Midnight Sun Home Care community would be a fun way to honor them.
Today, Midnight Sun Home Care family member, Maggie, shares lessons from life with her mother, Feen.
My mom was a single mom and I was the only child until age 13, when she remarried and had three more children. So, it was just mom and me for a while. We kind of grew up together and we did just about everything with each other.
One of the early things she taught me was frugality. She was a kindergarten teacher and received very little support from my biological father. But, she made saving money fun, like a game. We did it to accomplish goals. For example, we traveled from Alaska back to visit relatives in Vermont every three years and we saved regularly for it. It was something I got to participate in; I was a partner in the goal. It wasn’t something that was given to me. I did chores for neighbors and I saved my pennies, right along with my mom.
We also didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere in Anchorage. We’d walk miles to do our laundry, hauling it in a sled or wagon. But, I never felt like I was suffering and I always felt that I was part of making things work. That carried over when mom remarried and had my three siblings. I got to participate in helping with the babies.
When it comes down to it, she taught me a lot of valuable coping skills, namely, how to make the best out of little and how to be happy. She taught me how to knit when I was 8. I wanted to learn earlier, but she said I had to wait until then. She was a good teacher. She never approached my knitting (or other skills) critically, but she always showed me how to make it right if I made a mistake.
She is 92 now and has dementia. So, I sit beside her when she knits and straighten it out for her if she makes a mistake. That partnership has been a valuable gift in our relationship, through all our years—even when I was a difficult teenager. She loved me through that and never gave up on me. I remember how she was always there for me and I try to be there for her, now. She is a very sweet and kind person. She always tries to be gracious and set a good example.
I can’t even imagine the struggle of having dementia. But, she does well and one reason is because she has her caregivers from Midnight Sun Home Care. They’ve become like family to my sisters and myself. They are just very dear people to us.
We have good communication with them, so I can call and say “good night” when the time is right, or call at other times that are ideal, so I am not an annoyance to mom or them. It works out really well.
We have a large family, all here in Anchorage, for the most part. We all get together and see grandma/mom. I am retired, so I generally see her everyday. My sisters and I take turns with the responsibilities. It’s been a blessing. I hear stories from other people about their struggles, as their parents get older. I feel lucky that I have the mother I have and the caregivers from Midnight Sun. I am so appreciative of that.