The Baby that Beat Dementia

When I arrived at the precipice of adulthood, I made a wish. A simple, love filled wish.

I wished that my beloved grandparents would live to see me become a Mother.

This year, that wish came true. With a twist.

My childhood memories are dotted with happy times spent with my grandparents. Nan singing her bird like songs in the kitchen whilst making scones ‘with love’. Pop sitting in his corner, quietly observing the world and offering up the occasional ‘Dad joke’.

That was them, and they made me feel safe.

When I considered my wish—the wish for my grandparents to meet my first born— I imagined a joy filled pregnancy announcement with even greater joy to follow. And when the time came to announce that our little miracle had come on board, sharing the news with my grandparents was almost as lovely as I dreamed it would be.

Almost. Because, by then, the Dementia had hit.

Shortly after the pregnancy announcement, my lovely, gentle Nan began to fade. It happened slowly. Looking back, I can see that I was in denial. I’d tell her that she was fine. That everyone gets confused sometimes. Hell, at 30, I was sure that I was already experiencing moments of senility. But over time, her mind became so muddled that nothing she said made sense anymore. Dementia; that cruel, poisonous vine.

Throughout my pregnancy, Nan battled on. She knew that I was pregnant, and yet, she didn’t quite understand. One moment, we would be discussing my pregnancy symptoms and the next she would be asking me if I’d put the baby down for a sleep.

See? Cruel.

For me, the 9 months of my pregnancy was long. But for Nan, it was an eternity. She waited and waited for that baby. And then she waited some more. She’d ask when it would be here. ‘Not for another 3 months Nan’, I’d say. She thought I must have kept extending my due date.

My Aunty, who is, very conveniently, an aged care Nurse, suggested that we buy Nan a doll to act as her own baby. Apparently it’s common amongst dementia patients. At first, I thought it was weird. I mean, seriously. The woman has had 8 children, and you want to buy her a doll? Umm…okay. But then I saw her with the doll. How tenderly she cradled it. The way she stroked it gently. The looks she gave it. She loved that baby doll. It was one of her children.

My little boy was born on the 24th of February, 2014— three hours before my 31st birthday. He had a little turned up nose and a head of mousy brown hair. Mummy’s pride and Daddy’s joy. Every bit the miracle that I thought he’d be. My wish had come true. He’d come in time to meet both of his great grandparents.

But, by then, Nan had deteriorated. She didn’t recognise me anymore. She’d smile politely and seemed to know that I was a nice person who deserved to be treated nicely. But she didn’t know who I was. And as many times as I told her that my baby was a boy, she would continue to think that he was a girl. Once, she even called him by the name of her own first born child. A girl.

My Nan was the first person in this world to cradle me in her arms, before even my Mum. Now, she doesn’t even know my name. She doesn’t remember holding my Mums hand at my birth. And she sure doesn’t remember loving me to pieces from the moment I was born.

But there is one shining light here. One piece of hope and joy that I take away from all of this.

Nan—although she believes that he is a girl—adores my baby boy. And he adores her. He is the only thing that makes any sense to her in this muddled up world that she barely tolerates. His joy makes her smile. And I mean, really smile.

She communicates with me and I wonder what on earth she is talking about.  But she communicates with my little boy and suddenly, I understand. Every goo and every gah. Every coochi coochi coo. In these moments, I see my beautiful Nan again. I see her spirit and forget all about this thing called Dementia. Motherhood is that strong. It cannot be forgotten. Even in the face of such a vial, hideous disease.

So, Dementia, you cruel and heartless beast. You listen to me, and you listen carefully.

You may have the ability to take a person’s mind, but you will never take their spirit.

That much I know. And that much I am grateful for.

Dementia

It’s Time For an Adventure

It’s time for an adventure.

Come on, Mum.

Get moving.

I’m ready to go!

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My hat?

Ummm…

Sorry Mum.

It is a nice hat, though.

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Where should we go first?

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Ooooh. How about down here?

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Oh yes. This does look fun!

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Look at me, Mum!

I bet you didn’t think I could stand on my head.

Well.

Look at me.

I can!

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You think I’m pretty clever, don’t you Mum?

Huh?

Danger?

What’s Danger?

IMG_1672That was a really awesome adventure…

But I’m pooped.

Yeah.

You really should slow down a bit, Mum.

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The Smile That Never Ends

Modern life can be messy.

The world-wide web is overflowing with people who want to be heard. And they are heard, for good, or for bad.

Some of these people think that they are right and that others are wrong.

Some of these people want the world to change. And they want to be the one to change it.

But, me. What can I possibly add to this web of worry, judgement, and inspiration?

I can’t give you a piece that is going to fight the good fight or change the world.

I am just…me. There is only so much that I can give. Only so much that I want to give.

To the world, I am small. But to the people in my world I am bigger than the sea.

I love my husband.

I love my family.

And by George I love watching my precious baby boy discover his world.

None of that is going to break the internet. And none of that is likely to change the world.

But all of that is good enough for me.

 

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The Final Smile. Blogtober 31st.

In Australia, today is Halloween.

For those who are unfamiliar with Australian traditions, Halloween, unfortunately, is celebrated by very few people.

I cannot think why.

Halloween is a little piece of childhood wonder, wrapped up in a pumpkin.

It is a chance to see the eyes of a child light up at the sight of a yummy treat or a well rehearsed trick.

It is a chance to relax. To let go of our uptight lives for one night and let all of our cares simply fly off into the stars.

That is why I wish us Australians celebrated Halloween with more gusto. And that is why the magic of Halloween made me smile multiple times today.

So please, sit back, relax, and let me take you on the journey that lead to my very last smile.

Chapter One.

Baby C and I check the letters together, every single day. It’s our thing. Baby C loves to bite chunks out of the envelopes and I love to fish the soggy paper out of his mouth. Oh, no, wait…

Anyhow, today, in the mail, we found a note that went along the lines of this:

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I looked at the piece of paper. And then I looked at it a bit longer.

What do I do?

I had no treats. And I certainly had no tricks.

What do I do? I could see this precious little person in my minds eye. His beautiful little puppy dog eyes looking up at his Daddy asking why there were no pumpkins at this house.

I couldn’t have that.

Here was my chance to share one final smile.

And what a smile it would be.

Chapter Two.

I dumped the pile of candy on the counter.

‘Preparing for tonight, are you?’ The Chinese shop keeper winked at me.

‘Yes,’ I said, sheepishly. ‘I’d hate for people to turn up and I had nothing for them. I’ve just realised, you must be very busy today. A lolly shop!’

The man packed the lollies into a paper bag and slowly nodded.

‘Well, actually, like you, we have to prepare. People will come in here to trick or treat, also. We must have enough to give.’

‘For free?’ I said, shaking my head, in awe.

Smile, Miss Cookas.

Smile.

Chapter Three.

House after house looked exactly as it had yesterday.

Except for this one.

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Chapter Four.

I got home and I made these.

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Chapter Five.

I put it all  together.

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Chapter Six.

I stood back and waited for the smiles to come.

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Chapter Seven.

Mister C had gone to get our dinner and returned to me typing away, preparing this post: my final smile.

He purposefully stopped right in front of me and said this.

‘You’ll be happy.’

I looked up at him as if to question why.

‘Half the chocolates were gone. And I saw a little boy and his Dad walking along, hand in hand. The little boy was carrying a little pumpkin basket. Oh yeah, and he looked pretty happy.’

And that was my final smile for the month.

My final, beautiful heart smile.


Dear Readers,

I cannot thank you enough for reading along with my smiles each day.

Some have been heart smiles.

Some have been silly smiles.

Some have been obvious smiles. Others, less so.

But whatever the case, every day this month has been an amazing one. Not only have I found my smile in places that I never even dared to look, but I have also found one more thing.

YOU.

So whether you have been smiling along with me since the very begining, or whether you have caught me on my very last smile, I say to you this.

Thank you for giving me a reason to look for the smile in life.

Oh, and don’t worry. I’ll have plenty more smiles to share in the future.

Just maybe not every day.

xx Miss Cookas

Blogtober

Everything’s coming up Roses! Blogtober 30th.

I’m not sure what is going on with our garden.

There are weeds everywhere. Some are as tall as the fence.

I am not kidding.

As tall as the fence.

But we have an 8 month old baby and, let’s face it, babies are a lot of fun.

And so we hang out with him. Instead of hanging out with the garden.

There is such potential in our lovely little garden.

I think you’ll agree.

Its flowers are nothing short of lovely.

And well worth today’s smile.


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