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My Mom’s new picture. Mom trained as a nurse right after WWII. Her first job was helping moms bring their babies into the world. I’ve always loved the pictures showing her in a crisp white uniform and nurse’s cap.She looked young, professional and so vibrant.

Of course, I treasure more recent pictures because of the memories they generate – the family gatherings at Christmas, celebrations for birthdays, graduations or weddings. We also have several portraits with my dad taken for their church directory.

Recently she was tickled to show me a picture taken at Stillwater Senior Living of her sporting a bright blue fuzzy hat that “matched perfectly with her outfit”. It was taken as part of a Mad Hatter Tea Party that celebrated National Mad Hatter Day. It’s one of many activities that the fill the senior living community’s activity calendar along with chair yoga, live performances by musicians and entertainers, faith gatherings, food demonstrations and more.

She looked beautiful and happy! Her natural smile is what caught me. She was having fun. Though her legendary memory is not as strong as it once was, this photo caught the essence of how much fun seniors can have in a community living setting. It’s my new favorite picture of mom because it shows her enjoying her life now. That single event brighten her day and it happened while family members were working. It also sparked a conversation about what she had been doing between our visits.

And this is among the reasons we moved her. More activities, better food, larger apartment furnished with treasures and photos from her life. Yes, she has therapy and that’s tiring. Some days are better than others, but whether I show up at 9 in the morning or even 8 at night, I find comfort in the staff who are there to assist her 24 hours a day. It’s a trusting partnership we have — caring for our mom. Their ages and faces are diverse, but their goals are in sync with ours, the family… to ensure care, comfort with a dash of fun are hers as she ages.

From one resident’s family to the family at Stillwater Senior Living … THANK YOU for everything you have done and continue to do for our Mom’s and thereby, for us!

Vivian Helm