Whenever my mother comes to stay with me, I feel more organized and ready for her stay. For each time she comes here to sleep in my adorable guest room full of rainbow colors and simple decor I am setup with things I learned I needed from her last stay. In my guest room while she is here I have a bright pink lamp, a green dresser with all her stuff on it beside her bed and on the right hand side where she can lay there reaching for a Kleenex or a sip of water. She has a baggie of celery sticks that help her from coughing so much as she chews them. In my guest room for her stay I have a tall fan on her bedside with 3 of 4 pillows all around to lift up and support hr paralyzed side. The fact that it's only 5 steps to bathroom is also very nice as we trek there several times a night. I keep my own personal stock of all the items she would ever need in my guest room closet, I wash all her dirty clothes through the day so she is never without and doesn't need to pack so much in the end. The fact she changes 3 or 4 times a day is all about how much she has sweated or traveled around. When I am with her I'm very grateful to have all these comforts for her, to have a long couch out in our living room for her to watch TV or read her book while my cats and dogs nap on her legs and feet. I am not far away in my kitchen cooking while she talks to me, I can easily roll her dinner table right up to her from the same couch and change her positions very naturally. As I space out each and every meal with setting her up right away with a salad or a fruit plate I cook away some kind of protein, usually I plan out a dish of fish or shrimp since my father doesn't like it and would never serve that in their home. Each late night has a fun berry dessert with yogurt or no sugar whip cream. I am all about making healthy foods for her because when she eats out she isn't concerned with that. I am truly grateful that I am strong and I am happy enough to help her. I can take her places and steady her balance in the shower. Wanting her to have as much comfort and fun as possible. It can feel tiring in the middle of the night as she gets so restless and vocal. I try to reason with her about sleeping in a bit longer as the gray morning walk to the bathroom has her excited to start her days in Boise. I can sleep at the drop of a hat when she is here, when I get her settled into the couch on a warm afternoon then she dozes off, I flop onto my messy bed or sleep directly below her on the living room floor. When she sleeps 4 hours straight I am THRILLED, I feel like I have renewed energy for her demands and activities once again. It's not easy to keep up on good sleep when my mother is around but I am grateful to understand how important and vital such sleep IS. These are the days of Gratitude when I can give my mother a good time, a healthy focus and a listening ear to all her sufferings. I wish this had never happen to her, I wish she never had a stroke and I wish I had never known such trauma, but I can't change the past simply wishing it all back the way it once was, even though we weren't as close as we are now I still would of preferred her body whole and well, our time together maybe a few hours or maybe a few moments of argument back then. I remember it well, for she was always on the move, the run and the stress in her life to get it all done. Sitting over tea was a waste of her day back in her old self, now this week we sat for 3 hours at a coffee shop downtown sharing in all her memories and planning to make this summer a fun one for her too. I pushed her wheel chair downtown among old buildings and bright sunshine as she said "I use to go here, go shopping with my mother when I was a teenager! Back then this was the main street of traffic and it only took us an afternoon to see every shop in town...now we would need a week to see all these stores again like that." I laughed out loud explaining "I wouldn't even try, you can get me into one or 2 shops then I would say time to sit down for lunch and walk through the city park now." My Mother replied "How are you going to find good deals if you don't look for them everyday?" I pushed on as she shared more old memories of her life thinking to myself that the best deal in life I am ever going to find is to enjoy my time on this earth, to enjoy my time with my mother and simply be grateful to be outside and grateful to be alive!