The Milo Umbrella

My mom has dementia and is supposed to be forgetting.

I don’t have dementia (well, supposed not to have) and am supposed to be remembering.

But the unexpected can still happen…

We go for breakfast, roti prata, and sit al fresco, under tall trees. Umbrellas at the table protect us from the sun and falling leaves and birds. I like sitting outdoors for a leisurely breakfast.

We sit and order our breakfast. Mom looks around. She looks upwards, and gives a delighted little smile. What is it? I ask her.

The umbrella, it’s Milo, she says. Yes, umm, so it is.

It’s new, she adds.

I look up. The umbrella does look new and cleaner than the others around. But for the life of me, I can’t recall if it was there before. We last ate there about 3 weeks ago.

After breakfast, I go up to the counter to pay. I ask the lady there, Are the Milo umbrellas new?

She was pleased someone noticed. Yes, they are brand new!

Bright Mornings

It is too easy to think about what my mom cannot do anymore. Make a list, and lament. But, there’s much to be grateful for. For one thing, how mom is so cheerful in the mornings. The following is a typical morning:

She wakes herself up, anytime between 6.30am and 8am. Goes to the bathroom. Folds her blanket up.

Makes her bed and changes her clothes. Cleans the floor with a wet rag. Switches on the TV.

Hum a little tune.

A special effort to greet me, singing, “Good Morning!” (She doesn’t hear me if she doesn’t see me, but when she sees me, she greets me).

Then she gets her own breakfast.

Makes a cup of tea. With too much sugar, I think. The sugar runs out faster these days. It’s okay.

Gets a large plate, and makes a sandwich with butter and kaya. Cuts up her sandwich into 9 squares. I’ve stopped asking her why. It’s okay.

And she savours her sweet breakfast.

It’s a good morning. It will be a good day!