Milkshakes and Maxxonistas at The Home for Wayward Seniors
Now that classes are out for the summer, I am trying to get Mom out for some fun more often. It is hard on her physically to go anywhere, but my mother- who used to keep the roads hot with her shopping excursions- thrives on getting out among people…and on shopping. I’ve never seen anyone love going shopping quite as much….well, except possibly my sister and me. Oh- it doesn’t need to be fancy shopping, and we don’t even have to buy anything. It’s just the joy of the hunt that draws us in like a moth to a flame.
I made a big batch of peanut butter cookies for Mom to give to her friends and then headed over to The Home for a Wayward Seniors to collect Heavy D. She was a bit flustered and not quite ready to go, as her friend Joanne had come to visit. Mom often shares her daily hot meal with Joanne, but not quite as willingly on the days that they bring chicken tenders. Unfortunately, chicken tenders are Joanne’s favorite, too, so Mom has to do some fancy footwork to wriggle out of losing them.
Once she did her hair and created the Rave Hairspray battle helmet,
we finally headed out with Mom in the wheelchair and ran into several of her friends in the lobby. Everyone was excited that Ms. Dot was getting to escape the home for a while. Mom’s friend who had throat cancer and can no longer speak, followed us out to the Bug and gestured wildly at me. She loves Mom, and is always holding Mom’s hand and tapping her heart. Mom still swears she is trying to tell everyone about the time her underwear was stretched across her walker…which she didn’t find out until she had paraded through the halls “in front of God and everybody,” as Mom says. Her friend is the one whose frantic gesturing made Mom finally look to see what all the fuss was about. Sure enough, she was a walking Victoria’s Secret ad. I’m pretty sure today that she was just telling me she was glad Mom was getting out.
Our first stop was Sonic for Mom’s favorite treat- a junior cheeseburger, tots, and a large chocolate shake (she likes to have leftovers to enjoy for later). We put the top down on the bug and sat there enjoying our lunch and watching people. The milkshake was particularly thick, so Mom put on a comedy routine trying to extract her treat through the straw. I finally broke down and got a spoon for her. Once she started spooning the chocolatey heaven into her mouth, she was one happy camper. Her only issue…
“Oh no, Neese…I forgot my teeth! No worries, I think I can gum it all, except for the pickles. Man, and those are my favorite part. I”ll just save ’em for later!”
Once lunch was finished, we headed to Mom’s very favorite store- TJ Maxx. Mom is the original ‘Maxxonista’, and would go there every day if she could. Our deal is, I take her to the clearance aisle in back, then check on her periodically. She likes to have her space and take her time looking for treasures. She scoots around and has the time of her life picking out things- usually to give to other people as gifts.
I did my own retail therapy and then came back to see Mom’s haul. She was so covered up with stuff that I had to go get a buggy to rescue her, as she said her leg was starting to go numb from the weight. Getting out of the store was interesting, as I had to try to push Mom while pulling the cart behind us…and be prepared to stop when mom wanted to take a second look at something.
Our favorite cashier checked us out, a very sweet young woman who always tells us about her grandmother and how much she loves her. I appreciate her taking the time to laugh and joke with Mom about her purchases- really that she remembered us and showed kindness to Mom. Some people are just angels walking on Earth. We met another one of those angels as we were leaving the store- one of the employees dropped what she was doing and sat with Mom and our buggy while I went to get the Bug. Of course Mom got the giggles as I was trying to load her in the car…her leg froze for a bit and wouldn’t move, so Mom started going, “cha-cha-cha!” and dancing. I got the giggles, too, and we just held each other laughing for a minute. She’s a hot mess.
Once I got her back to Princeton Towers, she was like Queen Elizabeth waving to her subjects as I wheeled her in. Everyone wanted to know how her trip was, what she got. I left her to visit while I checked her mail, and when I rounded the corner, I heard her say, “I had the best time. Neese is my angel.” Made me tear up, as I know there won’t be too many of these outings left to enjoy. Each one is precious, and it means a lot to know that Mom really enjoyed herself.
I got her settled in and left her bags of loot by her lift chair as she instructed.
“Oh, I need to see all my stuff, Neese. I’ll play with this for hours!”
She settled in to rest and wait for her favorite nurse, Theresa, to come check on her and wrap her leg. I had to head home to teach a lesson. I was amazed- I was completely wiped out- me, the kickboxer….Mom, on the other hand, was lit up like a ninety-two-year-old Energizer Bunny. Shopping and socializing are her drugs of choice, and she was flying high. She told me,
“Neese, when you go home, don’t think about how tired you are, just think, I had fun! I had fun! I had fun! And, I want to go back, I want to go back!” (Giggles)
Heavy D took on retail and won. That’s just how she rolls.
We’ll go again soon, Mom. I promise.