There was a very tasty ice cream treat to be relished.  That always sets the tone for a good time.  The conversation was lively, interesting, silly, serious, and, in general, entertaining.  Eddie and Carol are neighbors and members of the church from which I retired a year ago.  We headed down the block some time before 7pm and returned home some time after 9pm.  Shortly after we got in the door, Mary Ann said, “That was fun!”

If you asked me when last I heard her say spontaneously that she had fun, I would have difficulty coming up with an answer.  I have to admit that I have been struggllng with the caregiving role lately.  I am sure Mary Ann has been struggling with the quality of my caregiving and my impatience with her.  Before we left the house this evening we were not in the best frame of mind.  This evening was a much needed tonic for both of us.

Most of the time it is pretty hard to tell whether Mary Ann has enjoyed an activity.  Words do not come easily to her.  Even before the Parkinson’s Disease diminished her capacity for both verbal and non-verbal expressions of feelings, she was not very demonstrative.  It often took some cajoling to coax out an assessment of whatever we had done for entertainment.

Her response this evening sparked my trying to think of things that she enjoys.  Having been married for nearing 44 years, I can usually determine whether or not she has enjoyed an activity.  I am not always sure my conclusion is correct, but I suspect that most of the time I can tell.

We visited our Son, Daughter-in-Law and Granddaughter yesterday afternoon and evening.  She enjoys visiting our children, their Spouses and the Grandchildren.  That is always a sure bet for a good time for Mary Ann.  By the way, that visit included both pizza and ice cream — can’t beat that!

This morning Mary Ann went to her Tuesday Morning Bible Study.  While because of the confidentiality agreement, she can’t report on the content of their time together, I can tell she enjoys it.  When we are scheduling a doctor’s appointment or whatever it is, she always makes sure that we keep Tuesday mornings clear.  She gets up, even if she is tired and longing to sleep in, so that we can get her ready in time to make it to the class.

Mary Ann enjoys the Volunteers’ time at our home with her.  Yes, part of that is because when they are at the house, I head out and am not hovering over her.  She also has developed wonderful friendships with those who have come to stay with her over the years.  The Volunteers don’t come so much to give me time away, but to spend time with Mary Ann.

I know Mary Ann enjoys time at the library.  She would have loved to run a little book store or work in a library.

She has wanted to get to a movie at various times.  Depending on the movie, of course, she likes to get to the movie theater.  Admittedly, it is seldom that we find something we really want to see.

Mary Ann, of course, likes going out for ice cream or going to a restaurant for a meal.  There are a few televission shows that are must see’s for her.  At the moment The Closer and NCIS are pretty much at the top of her list.

I will keep looking and listening for signs that indicate whether or not Mary Ann has enjoyed an activity.  Her circumstances make it pretty tough to enjoy life.  At least I can try to make sure that we keep in her days plenty of things she enjoys.

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