Once a week I give Mom a manicure. I like this time with Mom because it gives us a regular routine of spending quality time together. Sometimes we have to build these moments into our life, moments when we are just present with another person without the distraction of people or television. When we do not consciously make the time, we often lose the opportunity to really connect with others. I learn the most about how Mom is feeling when we have this one-on-one time. I am glad this small ritual gives us these moments of greater knowing and understanding of one another.
Painting Mom’s nails also provides me with a lesson in life. When I hold her hands, with the absolutely perfectly smooth and soft skin I have always wished I had, I try to steady her tremors. What I noticed though is if I attempt to hold her hand steady, I actually make the tremors worse. It is as if her hands are trying to push back at my attempt to hold them still. This has been a good learning experience for me to stop trying to control life and live in the moment, accepting things as they are. Sometimes Mom gets annoyed with the tremors and apologizes for them. I keep telling her it does not matter if her hands shake, it is not a problem. I want Mom to know that I and other people will love her and care for her no matter what happens. There is no need to apologize for who you are or what is happening to you. We will be there to paint your nails, help you get dressed, or do whatever else you need.
It is amazing to me how one small act in life, which probably takes a half hour a week, can teach me so many lessons and reflects so much about who Mom and I are.