I suppose I could say today was a dream come true. Ever since Tam and I bought the hat shop, I’ve thought about what it would be like to have my parents visit. Of course, the “visit” part changed when I realized they could no longer live on their own and we ended up moving them here. That’s when it became more nightmare than anything else.
But back to the dream part…
There are places here on the coast that I find charming and I wanted to share them, especially with my mom, because I knew she would appreciate their intrinsic value and their artistic place in the universe. Being an artist, I knew she really would get it, and the thought of connecting over something so simple, yet complex, thrilled me.
Of course, things haven’t gone all that smoothly with the move. There have been moments when I honestly thought I wouldn’t survive the transition. Their behavior has been deplorable and not unlike toddlers who have been cheated out of too many naps. Except these toddlers have a driver’s license and a vehicle. Not a good combination.
Pardon my digression into hell.
Today I decided it would be a good idea to drag my mother around for a little while. She would ask to go to the hat shop on numerous occasions and then back out at the last minute. Finally the weekend arrived and I told her I was going to take her there. She was surprised, almost as if she wasn’t sure the place actually existed. Then she warmed up to the idea. When the day came, I was all ready to go, but first I wanted to show her a beautiful iron gate, complete with stone lions. I have no idea what is behind the gate, but it’s cool and I thought she’d like to see it.
Off we went, and all was going along smoothly, when I took a quick detour to a place called Oysterville. She’d been there many years ago, although she no longer remembers. We drove through the tiny lanes and bought oysters to bring back for dinner. She thought it was lovely and enjoyed every bit of it. We talked about the lovely clouds and how the sunlight looked on the water. She commented on the shades of green across the bay and how lovely it all was.
Then we headed out for the gate, and when we found it, she was duly impressed, even if she wasn’t sure exactly what she was supposed to be looking at. I admit, I missed the gate the first time through, so our angle on the way back wasn’t the best, but she saw it and liked it.
After that, we dropped the oysters off at the house, and she said she was going to get out. I reminded her she was coming with me to the shop. For a moment, I thought she was going to balk, but she decided to be a good sport and stayed in the car.
As we drove into town, we talked about Pop losing his way over and over again and we shared our concerns. I marveled at how, despite her failing memory, her direction sense is spot on. It was like that every damn time, even when I turned corners and took detours. The arterial road turned this way and that, yet, even though she is (and always will be) unfamiliar with the area, she knew immediately which direction we were heading.
I babbled our way past the gas station, and ignored the blinking gas light. We toured past the second gas station, knowing that I drive a Prius and I’ll make it the short distance from the shop to the station, even if I have to run on battery the whole way. I was having too much fun. It was exactly how I’d always wanted it to be.
After we arrived in the parking lot, we slowly made our way down the street to the hat shop. The sidewalk was a little crowded and I worried that she would become confused or frightened, but she was a champ and she finally stood before the shop in person.
I can’t fully express what that meant to me. I’d talked to my folks about it so many times, and I even showed them pictures and a video, but that’s never the same thing as being there, and I really wanted her to see it in person. Today was that day. She took her time perusing the displays, and checking out the merchandise. She wandered around and watched the customers. Finally, she got tired and sat herself in the chair we have near the back of the shop, put there for weary customers.
She watched Tam and I work the store. She got to see us chat with patrons, make suggestions for hats, and interact with a number of people. She saw how we do business, and that is something I’d always wanted to share with her. I wanted her to know that the shop is real, it’s a grown-up place. I always felt in the back of my mind that she wasn’t sure it was anything other than a pipe dream and would dissolve in the mists of morning.
Mom has finally seen the shop in person. We toured part of the peninsula together and I got to share some of my favorite places with her. There is still a lot to see and many more outings I want to experience with my parents. And now, I have some hope. It happened when we pulled into a parking lot and saw that it was the trailhead to a birding path. She said, “I’m not up to it now, but I think that’s something I’d like to do later on.”
That was the first time she indicated that she has a future here. This is the first day I haven’t felt like I was on the edge of disaster.
And that, dear readers, is a dream come true.