Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Jumble and my Mom - #SOL 12/20/16




It's Tuesday and time for Slice of Life! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for  hosting this group every Tuesday!

My mom loved to do the Jumble in the newspaper. Every day when she lived at her home, she would cut the Jumble out of the paper, and put it on the end table between her chair and my dad's chair. This prevented her from cheating and looking at the answers when words got difficult, and it was easy for her to hold as well.

During the year of her 3 hip replacements, when she spent a great deal of time near us in Columbus either at a surgery center, or at a rehab facility, the Jumble became "our" thing - I would bring the Life and Arts section of our local paper to the rehab facility each night, and if it was just the two of us, we would settle in, and try to figure out the words, and then answer the riddle as well.

I initially started doing it with her to help keep her mind sharp; she wasn't as active as she used to be, and the three surgeries and the anesthesia required for each took away some of her mental acuity. But then the Jumble became so much more than that - it became an opportunity for mother/daughter bonding over words. It was "our" ritual - sometimes when we both got stuck, we'd ask for help; but we really tried to figure it out between the two of us.

As can happen, the adult daughter became a caregiver, and that was true when we worked the Jumble as well. After a few weeks, I began to easily see patterns in letters and words that Mom, who had been successful at the Jumble her entire life, could not. But Mom was a competitive person, so I never let her know I figured it out first; I would just guide her to finding it out by giving her different sequences of letters that more closely approximated what the real word was.

I so cherished those moments we had together, puzzling over words and talking about the days' events at the same time.

She died two years ago last week, and you want to know what section I still look at first when the paper comes? That's right - the Life and Arts section so that I can cut out the Jumble for later. On the days the answers come really easy for me, I know my mom is sitting over my shoulder helping me out even now. It's still a time each day we get to spend together.

1 comment:

  1. Karen,
    This is such a treasured memory. I have no doubt your mom IS sitting over your shoulder guiding you as you work. Perhaps, she is once again your caregiver and asking you guiding questions as she has again figured it out before you!

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