I didn’t think that there was actual proof of the pivotal turning point. Thanks to Facebook and the memories of the day to look back on, I have reminder of when it happened. When my eyes opened. “Xander taking care of his crying baby.” October 11, 2008. The day everything changed for me. See, this is the day I came to the realization that my mother may have the beginnings of cognitive decline, of some sort.
The evening started out simply. My husband and I were going out for a quiet dinner. An early celebration of our wedding anniversary and my mom would watch my 2 children. My daughter was only about 3 months old and still breastfeeding pretty often. I left 4 bottles of pumped breastmilk with 2 oz in each bottle for the 2 hours we may be out. Way more than she would eat in such a short window, but I felt it better for my mom to have more milk than less. We also left prepared food for our son Xander, about 2 1/2 years old at the time. My theory was grandparents should be able to enjoy their grandchildren and not have to cook, especially with 2 grandchildren so young.
We enjoyed a wonderful quiet dinner together celebrating 7 years of marriage. Nothing prepared me for what happened next. We walked in the door to my daughter’s blood curdling screams. Never before had I heard her cry in this manner, and never since. We were darn lucky to have 2 kids that were, for the most part, happy all the time. Hungry? Feed them and they are fine. Soiled diaper and/or undergarments? Quick change and they were good to go (you get the idea). This was bizarre. My son commented “Mima, no more snacks. Real food please.” Mom hadn’t fed him? Nope. The food and the 4 bottles, still in the fridge where I left everything. I immediately put her to the breast which immediately settled her down while my husband fed our son.
I asked mom what happened and she had no idea what was wrong. “I fed her, bathed her, changed her, played with her. She is just too attached to you!” When my daughter finished nursing, my husband took both kids upstairs to the guest room for bed while I went to investigate for myself. There they were. All 4 bottles I had pumped. Now you may be thinking, could I have been off with the count? When you are breastfeeding and pumping, usually, you remember exactly how much you worked your butt off to produce. When I brought this to mom’s attention, she remarked “you must have brought more than 4.” Being the ridiculously logical of the bunch I asked “then where is the empty bottle?” She got up and said “I must have thrown it out by accident with all the crying!” She promptly took out the garbage in a hurry and left me there dumbfounded.
Mom often complained to various friends and family members that I had only used her as a babysitter and didn’t just come to just visit. This despite the fact that I lived over an hour away and had paid sitters and friends that I trusted more. A serious coping mechanism I guess. My husband and I made a difficult decision that infamous night. From that pivotal night on October 11, 2008, my mother did not watch my children, alone, ever again. That was the day my serious health journey began to defend myself to what could happen to me. That was the day I began the transition to becoming plant based. From that day, I waited for the inevitable, whatever it may be, and how I would handle it. That is the day I began to grieve the loss of my mother, real or perceived. A process that will probably never end, even after she is completely gone.