The glass IS half full.

Brad and Jim enjoying the ball game.

Brad and Jim enjoying the ball game.

I want to share a very quick story with you. This story perfectly illustrates how my two children not only teach me life lessons everyday, they help me become a better person.

Last night Jim, Brad and I went to see a local minor league baseball game. It had been raining and we weren’t even sure the game would get played. Luckily, it did. During the first couple of innings we sat in the drizzle of rain, Brad and I sharing an umbrella while Jim decided he was fine without anything other than his hat.

As most 9 year old boys do, Brad REALLY wanted a foul ball. We were sitting behind the netting behind homeplate and would not be getting a foul ball. Not too long after we sat down, the usher that had wiped the rain out of our seats came past us, walked over to the dug out and said something to the ball boy. The ball boy proceeded to hand over 2 baseballs. As the usher walked past, I asked him what the secret was. He smiled and said it helps to work there. He also mentioned he gives them to kids in his section. Wait. Aren’t WE in his section? I look around. There are literally 4 kids in his section. The rain has kept most at bay tonight.

So I told Brad to go over and ask for a ball. After much prodding over the course of an inning or two, he finally did. IMMEDIATELY, that same usher came down and told him he needed to return to his seat and that those bat boys were working and he was disturbing them. Well! Being the Mama Bear that I am, I was…..let’s say, a little unhappy. I didn’t say anything to Brad, but in my mind I was saying a few words.

By the 7th inning, it is apparent the home team isn’t going to win, but thankfully it isn’t raining and it is an enjoyable night to watch some ball. Also in the 7th inning, the very same usher comes down to Brad and asks him if he really wants a baseball. Brad says, “Yes sir.”  The usher prods him a little more. “Are you sure you do?” “Yes sir.”

From his tattered, red vest pocket he produces the elusive  baseball that lights up my son’s face. “Since you really want one. I like to give them to kids that really want a ball.”

I make sure Brad tells him “thank you.” Then I thank him myself and I let him know the little boy sitting behind us really would like a ball too. Sure enough, the usher walks over to the dugout, waits a moment and gets the other boy a ball too.

This is all confusing. Instead of switching my thoughts, I try to figure out his motives and why he had a huge change of heart. It was nice, but why?. I am learning just how cynical I am. Much to my dismay. First impressions are the hardest to change.

Fast forward to our 20 minute ride home. It is late and dark. I am lost in my own thoughts planning for the next day at work. Out of the blue Brad sets me straight.

“Mom!”

“Yes Brad.”

“I know why that man told me not to ask for a ball.”

“Oh really? Why?”

“He had planned all along to give me one. He just wanted to surprise me. He waited until almost the end of the game and then he wanted to make sure I got one from him. He knew he was going to give it to me when he told me not to ask for one. You noticed he didn’t tell anyone else that came over to leave the bat boys alone?”

“Yes, I had noticed that.” (and had sat steaming in my seat)

“He is a nice man. He wanted to give me the ball himself.”

So, I continue driving, letting his thoughts, his simple way of seeing the glass IS half full sink into my mind.

And again, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I preach everyday to my children to be positive and to not judge others and to let things go. But I am guilty of not practicing what I preach.

Thank you Brad for teaching me.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (3)

One down….

Just after a downpour outside of Fenway. May 2013

Just after a downpour outside of Fenway. May 2013

We can check off #  2 on Jim’s Bucket list . This past week we had a great time in Boston. I think Jim really enjoyed the Red Sox game and I think he enjoyed our time away without distractions of my work, the house, the kids and life in general.

It started off a little rocky. As we went through security at the airport Jim somehow managed to “lose” his wallet. He had it when we walked up to security, showed them his i.d. and then we went through the procedure of taking off his belt, our shoes, jackets, putting our carryon bags on the conveyor belt. No problem.

Then, as we are putting our things back in order, he can’t find his wallet. Not in his pockets, not in his jacket. He keeps trying to walk over to security to ask them where it is. I keep calling him back over to where our stuff is, asking him where he put it after showing them his i.d. This went on for a few minutes and I wanted to shout at the people staring at us, “Stop looking at us. He has Alzheimer’s Disease. Yes, I know he is young and doesn’t look like it. But he has it and now he has lost his wallet even though he had it on the other side of the gate.”

Finally, I look through his bag and there it is. Under some clothes and to the side. He must have gotten a little flustered being rushed through security and during the process of trying to multi task slipped his wallet into his bag. Multi tasking is no longer an option.

Deep breathes. We are on vacation….

The rest of the trip went well with just a few hiccups that don’t seem to bother me as much when the kids aren’t around. It doesn’t matter that he can’t figure out the hotel room light switch. It isn’t a big deal that he actually wondered out loud if the ball park food would be as expensive as the airport food. Who cares that he suggested we buy cereal and milk  to carry on the Charlie around Boston and back to our hotel for breakfast the next morning? (for the record, Jim eats cereal every morning, even if I fix something else)  I could focus on just Jim. No need to keep track of the kids, meals, schoolwork, chores, bills, practices and schedules. It was just the two of us riding the T and seeing some sites.

It was hard for me not to miss the “old Jim.” The Jim that would start a conversation. The Jim that would keep pace, not always seem to be a step or two behind, and help me figure out what we were doing and where we were going. The old Jim that would have a story to tell when we were sitting at dinner and the Jim that would be interested in seeing something specific. We would have to compromise. Go where he wanted to go AND where I wanted to go. For the most part we went where I wanted to go. I think that is one of those things that you wish for when you are married, but when you suddenly have a spouse that lets you make all the decisions, including what to see while on vacation, you think of the saying, “be careful what you wish for.”

We went to Quincy’s Market and Copley Square. We ventured to Boston Commons and ate at the Harbor, where I tried clam chowder for the first time. We made sure we arrived at Fenway Park in plenty of time. We walked around the entire facility. We got hot dogs. We took pictures. He got a pretzel. I got nachos and beer. We saw the Red Sox hit a grand slam. Unfortunately, that was about the only thing they did that game and they got beat terribly bad.

The infamous ball park frank...

The infamous ball park frank…

The stadium started clearing out by the 7th inning. Finally, we headed towards the seats behind home plate (we were out in right field). We tried to sneak past an usher and got caught. Wow. We were so close to the field and could see the players and boy, those seats are cushy! They even have TV’s in the backstop wall to watch. So, we stood just inside the entrance to the section behind home plate, just out of the area where the usher had ushered us away. I was on the phone with my Dad telling him what was going on and low and behold, the usher came back over and told us we could sit in the back row of that section. Awesome. We could see each pitch so clearly. It was such a different perspective and view. I was so grateful he had changed his mind so that Jim could really get a feel for the ballpark and the game before it was all over. I thanked him before we left. I am not sure what made him change his mind, as I saw him send many others away as we sat in those prized seats. Sometimes things just happen that are good and you just have to be thankful.

Jim watching warm ups.

Jim watching warm ups.

I am thankful we got something on Jim’s bucket list done. I am thankful that he was able to enjoy himself.

I am not thankful that we are working on Jim’s bucket list at all.

As I write this entry, I realize I need to change my seat. Just like we did in the stadium. I need to change my view and my perspective of what our family is going through.

Lately, I have really struggled with a lot of things. My job. Money. Schedules. Housework. Jim’s lack of interest or involvement in most things. Just trying to be “me” when I am not sure who that is anymore. This trip was a good perspective on enjoying our time together and focusing on the other bucket list items.

Next up: Chincoteague Island.

IMG_1287

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (3)