A few days ago, we participated in an early Thanksgiving meal with my 91-year-old mother Ginny at her assisted living / memory care residence. The evening included some live musical entertainment and while mom was watching the singer, I was watching her feet tap to “That’s Life” and hearing her sing the last few notes of “New York, New York.” She was smiling at everything around her; soaking it in.
We watched while a resident spontaneously hopped up from her chair, completely filled with the spirit to move and danced and clapped around the room when the first notes of “Rock Around the Clock” started. There was also a man who turned to his wife when “Unchained Melody” began and he grabbed her hand and sang to her. This was when I realized that the unfiltered happiness of these residents was filling me up more than the actual meal.
This year, I am thankful for that happy music, for being in the present moment, for small gifts of time with my mom and feeling the bursts of joy from these elderly residents. Wishing you a heartfelt Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) and soak in everything this day with family, or family for just one night, brings you.
A replay of some of the Thanksgiving party happy notes: