The Toaster Was a Hit

Denise
bread-315949_640My parents moved to their apartment in an independent/assisted living community yesterday. The community sits in the heart of our suburb, down the street from Trader Joe's, across from the library, blocks from their church and a short drive to the senior center. It's a perfect location for my parents, who want to remain as active as possible in the community. My dad still drives (for now) but the community has a driver (and van) at their disposal. During the winter months in Chicago, a driver other than me will prove to be a godsend.

I organized the move so that parents arrived to an apartment yesterday that was a mini version of their house. On Friday night, one of my nieces and I set up their kitchen, complete with stocking the fridge and cupboards with staples for a light meal or breakfast. (They'll eat two daily meals of their choice in the dining room.) I bought them a coffeecake for their Sunday morning breakfast so they could relax on the first morning in their new home. The movers arrived at about 8:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and had the majority of furniture and boxes loaded on the truck when my sister, brother and sister-in-law arrived at about 9:15 a.m. We arrived at the apartment at about 10:15 a.m. and had unpacked and organized their apartment at about 1:15 p.m.

I arranged for my niece and sister to pick up my parents at the nursing home, pack up their belongings and bring them to the new community for lunch. By the time they finished eating, we were ready to unveil the apartment to them.

Before my parents arrived, my sister-in-law said, "Oh, your mom is going to cry at the sight of this apartment! It looks sooo good." And, it did. If you stopped for a visit, you would want to stay. It looked that inviting.

But, I know my mom. I didn't hold my breath for the tears.

We took them on the tour, showing them each of the three rooms, pointing out the items we moved that we thought they would appreciate. My parents were happy with the apartment, grateful for what we had done.

When we arrived at the toaster, shining on the kitchen counter, my mom clapped her hands and expressed sheer delight at its appearance. "My toaster," she exclaimed. "Look at my toaster!"

The toaster was the hit of the apartment. Ironically, Sibling, who would not help us at with the move, had purchased a new toaster for my mom. Sibling's contribution was buying my mom a new toaster which I packed, moved, unpacked and placed on the counter.

Later, out of ear shot of my parents, my sister-in-law shared her utter disbelief at the big deal my mom made about the toaster. "That was so wrong," she said. "You did soooo much for her. But the toaster was what she was most excited about. That was just so wrong."

"And, so it is," I said.

I do a lot for my parents. Not really because they will appreciate all I do. And, I don't mean to imply they don't appreciate my help. They do. And, they express their appreciation. But, I know that someone else will do something trivial (like buying a toaster) for my parents that will illicit a huge response from them. So, I help not really for them but for me. I help so I know I've done my best, so I won't have regrets, so I can sleep at night.

I help because, in my mind, it's just the right way for me to be.

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