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Involving Mom in My Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing

My elderly mother lives with us and is virtually home bound.  We purchased this house with her in mind because it has a mother-in-law suite (fancy words for two little connecting rooms and a bath).  At that time she could no longer cook or drive but otherwise could care for herself.  This has changed greatly.

Each day she seems weaker and more confused.  She never receives visitors and rarely does mail arrive for her.   Finding things to keep her interested is a challenge because of the confusion and weakness.

Pillowcase dresses, panties and tops for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

I always keep her abreast of what I am doing with my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  Since it is all in the basement and she can't go down the stairs she can't see what I am doing.  Each time I sew a dress or apron I take it for her to see.  I kept wishing she could help me sew somehow, as she sewed much in her younger
years.  But that is not going to happen, I have to admit that.  So I thought I could let her choose the long sleeve, layering t-shirt to go with each dress.

Princess pillowcase dress for Operation Christmas Child shoebox.
Choices of shirts to match to dress.

I left several of the shirts and two dresses with her.  Several days passed and she would move them around her rooms and look at them but couldn't understand what she was to do with them.  Today I decided I'd work along side her.  I would give her the box of dresses and box of shirts and walk her thru choosing a dress and matching a shirt.  She removed the packaging and tags and  I would then take them and add a pair of panties, fold them all and squeeze them into a sandwich zipper bag.

Dresses packed for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Dress, shirt and panties squeezed into sandwich bags.
Even this was confusing to her--decisions come hard.  Perhaps just removing packaging from pens and pencils would be easier and more enjoyable for her  But we had an hour together and she got to handle the pretty dresses and see them with the matching shirts.  I hope it gave her another nice memory and sense of purpose in helping others.

I'm determined to help her feel useful and needed and find enjoyment in her long days.

Update:  I've shared another post of my daughter and mom packing soap.  You can see it here:  Generations Working Together Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.


penny said...

Thank you so much for realizing that just because folks get old and confused, they still need to feel useful and needed! I love older folks but sometimes it can be so heart breaking. But always fulfilling! You will surely be blessed for taking time to work with her. I would give anything if I still had my Mama to do things with. blessings, p

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Thank you, Penny, for your kind comment.

Suzanne Broadhurst said...

What a beautiful family! And it offers me hope for my future. I've been pondering what seems to have become in our society the throw-away years, before birth and the elderly. Compassion is the key on both sides of life's timeline. I'm so thankful for you and your mom, and for the lives you share not only in shoeboxes, but with shoeboxers.

Any ideas on how to involve an elderly family member who lives several states away?

Robin said...

Thank you so much for the reminder. I'm in a very similar situation. I am so grateful for your sweet, sensitive spirit, and the gentle reminder from God.

Kristy said...

Absolutely beautiful! So very meaningful in so many ways!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Suzanne, thanks for your kind words. I'll think on the out of town ideas -- it depends, of course, on the abilities of the person. But if it were my mom, I would at the least send her scraps of the fabric I am sewing with, pictures of what I make and try to think of things she could do -- like save her old cards and calendars for me to craft with. These are things she could do.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Oh, Robin, what a blessing to hear God used this short post to encourage you in your situation.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Thanks, Kristy.

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