There is no rhyme or reason to my Mother's mind. At times it is perfection, you can sit and discuss art and literature, culture and politics and forget that she sits in a wheelchair, post stroke and needs assistance to complete the most mundane daily tasks. Other times, it is muddled, foggy and stumbles like a drunken man on a winding road. She is a master social grand dame, she can see it in my your eyes, when she is not making sense, that's when she will quickly course correct, mid stumble, and it will seem like a simple bump in the road, rather than someone one who can't even see the road on occasion. There are things she can't disguise, the flat affect that is typical of a post stroke victim, coupled with a robotic laugh, which in the beginning is disconcerting, but gradually become the best comedic tool in history, she is the perfect "straight man." Being an innocuous older lady allows her to launch zingers with the straightest of faces then pause a few seconds and literally issue the flattest HA-HA-HA you have ever heard. It is truly hysterical, she has learned this and has become our little class clown, sometimes even beating me to the punch line. Yes, she has taken over my role in our family as the funny one, and in this she revels.
She is at her best when it is just us, her family, she is her true self, no one making small talk with her, if her mind wanders and her eyes fix in the distance, it's ok. The other day as we sat at lunch, my nephew, brought a magic trick to the table, as we talked over coffee. He made his way around the table and showed us one by one, we laughed, and ooh and awwwed at his trick. He is not so young to think he is fooling us, but we were all accomplices in the fantasy. He finally made it to my mother and showed her the trick. My Mother's face at that moment was priceless, she was amazed, astounded by his trick, her eyes widened and her mouth came to a perfect O. She looked up at me and asked me had I seen this!?! Yes, Mama, I answered, as I watched her, realizing what was going on. Then she turned to my nephew and asked how had he learned Magic. She didn't mean a trick, she wanted to know how he knew MAGIC, real magic. Everyone smiled and my nephew laughed and that was that.
I have been thinking about that moment over and over. I think of my children's faces on Christmas morning, when they were little and the magic of Santa was still a possibility in their lives. There are very few moment in life that have true magic in them. Then I think of my Mother in her late 70's and the joy on her face at that moment. Magic is alive and well for my Mother still and that warms my heart.