Many people complained yesterday, how a perfectly good Tuesday, was reduced to a lousy Monday; following the holiday. I however, was able to sidestep that issue entirely because my family chose to hold our Independence day celebrations on Sunday, leaving me free to do as I please on Monday. I could have stayed home and cleaned around the house or worked in the garden, but instead I chose to visit with Mrs. K and Mr. L. The reason I chose to “work” is pretty simple: when you suffer from dementia, a holiday is just another ordinary day. But with a little engagement, that ordinary day could become a holiday of sorts.
A few years back, I learned of a study that suggested thirty minutes of engagement or interaction with someone with dementia increased their serotonin levels to a point of feeling happy-which lasted all day long. I wondered, isn’t this why we celebrate holidays? To be happy with friends and family? To have a piece of the pie? Choosing to work Monday was a no-brainer for me and as you may well deduce, I had a perfectly normal Monday and a fairly nice, normal Tuesday too.
Monday night, long after the hubby and I took our evening walk and the sun had finally set for the night, I cautiously took another walk around my block, mindful to avoid a few teenage boys lighting fireworks and bottle rockets off the sidewalk (many of which sounded as if aimed at my head) as I walked on by. As the noise makers rang through my neighborhood and kids played on bikes and scooters, I couldn’t help but reflect how blessed we’ve been to have had the opportunity to raise my kids in the same neighborhood I was raised in. We are a tight knit working middle class crew of people, who want our children to have the same opportunities afforded us and thankfully, this community works together to help ensures that happens.
When I reached my destination, I walked into a 3 house-backyard party, filled with people from all around the neighborhood, anxiously awaiting the annual fireworks display. Shortly before 9:45 pm the first of many roman candles were lit and the gathered crowed oohed and ahhed at the exploding works in the night sky. Looking over at my friend Kathy I said, “Why would anyone want to go downtown and fight that traffic when we have this right here?” She smiled and replied, “Because not everyone is as lucky as we are…” Yep, not everyone has their piece of the pie. We certainly do.