This season involves family and shopping. Both require patience and love.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived Black Friday. I wasn’t planning to leave my house at all yesterday, but my step-daughter called and requested my assistance. So, I went to her house for a while. That is what family does, after all. We support each other.
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I figured since I was already out, I may as well buy some groceries. I really miss my local grocery store, which recently closed. I wasn’t about to try to fight the crowds at our local super center, so I drove to a grocery store a few miles away to pick up what I needed for my family Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We couldn’t celebrate Thursday because my husband and step-daughter were both working, and I wanted them to be with us.

I took advantage of some online Black Friday deals when I returned. I did have a few things that sold out while they were in my virtual shopping cart, but that’s a common problem with online shopping. I weigh that against shopping from my couch while wearing house shoes and sipping iced tea. You guessed it – I far prefer to shop from my couch.

I was able to mark two people off my Christmas list as complete without going anywhere near a mall. I call that a success! I will be visiting some local stores as well as national retailers in person throughout the Christmas shopping season, but I feel good about my progress so far. Some things just need to be physically handled prior to purchase, and I do enjoy looking around brick and mortar stores. I just really hate crowds of people and waiting in lines that wrap around the perimeter of the store.

This time of year most of us see family that we don’t visit too often. Many of us find nothing but annoyance in dealing with those people. It’s especially difficult when someone in the family suffers from dementia. The most well known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, but all forms are heart-breaking no matter what you call them.

My father-in-law suffered from dementia for the last few years of his life, and it was difficult for the entire family. He was still able to walk around until shortly before he passed. What dementia stole from him first was his speech. He was an incredibly articulate man when I met him nineteen years ago. As he battled his illness, his words were slower and slower in coming until he was finally reduced to one word answers.

Children, especially, have trouble understanding why their relatives can’t remember simple things like which car is theirs, where they left their glasses, or even the names of their children and grandchildren. My father-in-law was always losing his glasses and his dentures. He called me by my sister-in-law’s name several times, but never seemed to think that I was her. I’ve been called worse, so I simply smiled and let it go.
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My friend, Joyce Valdois Smith, has written a children’s book, Grandpa Forgot My Name, to help our little ones make sense of the changes they’re seeing. If you have small children and someone in the family with dementia, I highly recommend this book. It’s available in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Of course, I believe that children should have a variety of books and learn to love the written word early in life. My grandchildren both have a good size collection of books even though neither one is even talking yet. Grandpa Forgot My Name will be added to their collections when they are past the age of chewing on everything.

Hold your loved ones near to your hearts, my friends. Enjoy what each family member and old friend has to offer. Listen to those old stories, and have a good laugh. Most importantly, share your love with others.

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