A Season of Change and Changing Seasons
A Year Of Change
This has been a year of change. It’s been nearly a year since Mom’s mobility declined. A year ago she could walk on her own, including trips to the bathroom. Now she has to wait for help. This year Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s been a year of declining ability for them and increased responsibility for us. For my parents the year brought a loss of independence, significant changes in mentation, pain, increasing disability and social isolation. As their situation changes, so does ours. The changes they face are so hard. Our’s are merely inconvenient. It’s funny, the changes become part of what’s normal. I’m aware of being housebound. I realize I can’t go out to dinner, can’t go on trips, but little things sneak up on me.
No Fruit For You
This harvest season hit me like a smack in the face. I usually do a lot of home canning and gardening. This year I’ve realized I can’t. The bunnies took care of my garden, possibly abetted by the squirrels and a couple of chickens. They chewed through the fence, ate all the bean plants—twice. They dined on beet tops, which left me beet-less. For some inexplicable reason, they ate all the zucchini plants but none of the yellow crookneck. They didn’t eat the lettuce, also strange, but our heat wave made it bitter. I didn’t have the time or energy to remove the plastic fencing and put up wire.
It’s hard finding time to drive to the fruit stands for apples, peaches, tomatoes and such. There are so many interruptions I can’t watch the stove/canner and safely keep all the wheels turning. My energy is sapped, physically and emotionally.
Today we made a big push to can tomatoes and applesauce. My husband has been a trooper, helping me even though I splashed him with hot applesauce. He’s taken charge of the pressure canner, which is good. It scares me—all those dials, bobbling buttons, and shooting steam. Still, it’s just not the same. We only did a small amount and the applesauce doesn’t taste quite right but I’m too tired to figure out what’s wrong.
I get so much satisfaction seeing the pantry, lined with food-filled jars for the winter and making after-school snack-jars for my grandchildren. Apparently, I read way too much “Little House On The Prairie” in my childhood. I read each book in the series and in my young mind being poor and plucky sounded so romantic. Unlike Laura Ingalls Wilder, I can go to Cash and Carry or the supermarket and buy cans of fruits and vegetables on sale, but it’s just not as good. Nor does it give me the gratification of seeing the “fruit” of my labors (sorry, bad pun, I know). In the overall scheme of the eternity, it’s petty. Petty it may be, but it feels like one more loss in our household that has experienced a year of losses.