I woke up today, Easter, still puzzled about how to balance Mom's needs with my needs and those of my husband. (See "The Unwelcome Guest.")
One good option seemed to be returning her to her residence after church and then bringing her back for dinner with John and me at 7 pm.
I had promised him I would take her back at 2 pm and not bring her back, but he had said he didn't mind her being around all day as long as he didn't have to eat a big dinner at 2 pm.
A generous offer from Jennifer, the young musician who provides entertainment and activities on the Rem floor, helped me unravel the day's options.
"We're going to make deviled eggs this afternoon," she said. "Here are the Easter eggs they colored yesterday. Aren't they great? Don't you want to join us, Evelyn?"
"Well, maybe," Mom said. Usually she hates the group activities, but this one involved food, and a food she liked. "I know how to make deviled eggs."
"Wonderful," I said. "Yes, I will have her back here by 2 pm."
But then during church I debated whether to pick her up again at 7 pm to eat Easter dinner with John and me, or just to give her a quick version of Easter dinner at 1 pm and not tell her John and I would be having Easter dinner at 7 pm.
I finally gambled that I could give her Easter dinner without her remembering that John was not with us... that this was not the usual family gathering.
It worked. She commented about my three daughters not being there, but she didn't get to the next square, that John was not present.
I served her and me part of a warmed up slice of ham with asparagus and canned sweet potatoes, followed by strawberry shortcake.
I had planned to make the shortcake, but to save time and to prevent John from being annoyed by any fuss in the kitchen should he arrive back from his church service, I just used slice pound cake from the grocery store.
"This is about a $5 lunch," she commented happily.
And later, "That's a tender ham."
"Uh-huh, pretty good, isn't it?" I answered. "Well, after all, it's Easter." My goal was that she know it is Easter, have a happy day, and not realize that she is missing out on the usual big Easter dinner.
Still later she said, "Boy, what a scrumptious spread." Usually at my house she just gets raisin toast and milk, grapes, maybe a ham sandwich.
But then she made a smart but poignant comment: "I would be so happy if I could just walk around like you do. Maybe if I pay 25 cents an hour extra to get somebody to walk with me, I could get to walking again. They just get 45 cents an hour, you know."
"Yes, maybe that would work," I said.
We finished "Easter dinner" and I prepared to take her back to Ocean View.
"Now, if I could indulge in using your bathroom again," she said.
"No problem," I said, though I had been hoping one trip to my bathroom would be enough for today. Getting her out of her wheelchair and onto the commode in the narrow space of my bathroom door is so difficult.
If, however, using my bathroom is a small pleasure she wants, and one that it is in my power to grant, by all means, I will give her this "indulgence."
Soon she was back at Ocean View, eagerly joining into the deviled egg making, and I was promising to return at 6 pm to bathe her.
Back at home, John seemed relieved that she was not here today while he was home. He suggested going to a movie this evening, and I was able to say, "Sure why not? After I shower my mother."
He grumbled at having to plan around her shower, but I was happy that she had already had her Easter dinner and was out of his way.
He wants to skip Easter dinner and just have popcorn at the 7:40 pm movie, maybe eat afterwards. Fine. That's fine with me.