On the Road Again

We have our car back! Actually, we have had it back for a while now and are free of electrical problems including the too small battery, which was jiggling its way loose, which makes life so much sweeter. We’ve fallen back into our routine of going our for drives and, despite my generally apathetic feelings (on a good day!) about the holidays these past couple years, we may even venture out to go see the Christmas lights at PIR’s Winter Wonderland one night this week. It will be something special that my mom can do and if she can do it with a peppermint mocha or cup of hot chocolate and some treats, she’ll be happy as a clam.

The only problem with drives is that it’s sometimes difficult to get her to come into the house when it’s time to come home. FTD can be such a baffling disease. We can have an absolutely lovely afternoon eating lunch, singing with the radio, and driving around looking at the scenery — so lovely I almost forget for a moment. And then when we pull into the driveway and it’s time to come home, suddenly I’m not longer with my mom but Obstinate Irma.

That’s how our trip yesterday was. We returned cans to the Oregon Bottle Drop and stopped for lunch in a drive to the country. I tried turning on some Christmas music, which just made me cry, because holidays don’t feel like holidays anymore and I mostly try to ignore them rather than go through some charade of pretending like we’re in a Hallmark movie instead of eating half-assed Thanksgiving by ourselves.

My mom was so sweet, promising she would never leave me, which, of course, she will, because she’s going to die. We’re all going to die and she’s 80 and probably would not live another 20 years, but I already know how her illness ends. It’s just a question of when and how much more of her I will lose before that happens. That breaks my heart, because my mom has always been my best friend. And that’s why holidays, birthdays, and other milestones are so difficult. Even though I appreciate that she is here now, there’s always this question of whether we’ll get another one, which then makes me feel guilty for dreading the holidays as much as I do instead of finding ways to make them more meaningful.

But, yes, it’s bvFTD is a strange, strange condition. It can go from 6 hours of driving around being sweet and having fun to a massive tantrum or flat refusal to cooperate in moments. I’m about ready to start keeping books or something in the car to entertain myself those times when she won’t come in, because I’ve found that it’s best to just play along and let her fall asleep, then wake her up and use the initial grogginess to cajole her into the house, but I’d still take that over being cooped up inside for days on end. And having the car again makes for much more pleasant days.

It also means that I can restart our new home search — another thing I’m ambivalent about. I know it’s the right thing to do in the long run, but I so don’t want to leave the house I grew up in, even if it’s not anything fancy. It’s just too hard to keep up with Portland and the skyrocketing property taxes and cost of living here and I know once I bite the bullet that I’ll be happy, if we end up somewhere pretty where deer wander into the yard and there are natural areas nearby and new places to go for drives.

It’s scary too, though. I don’t get a lot of help in the form of in person support save for a couple true blue friends, who I know I can call in an emergency or a ride or groceries, if I can’t get out to go to the store or need help. I have always been pretty independent (thanks, Mom!), but the idea of being alone in an area where we don’t know anyone is really daunting as is the idea of actually going through the process of selling our house and moving, which is why I’ve been dancing with this idea of moving for about year and a half now. But my ancestors crossed the plains and even my mom crossed an ocean to come here. I can find a way to make moving two hours away work. And sometimes it feel like a fresh start could make life a bit happier as well. We shall see what 2020 brings…

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