The assisted living center where my mom lived thought it would be a wonderful place to take a group of their residents. Mama had always liked going to the children’s museum with her grandchildren so I signed her up for the outing.
I met the bus and helped mama get comfortable in her wheelchair. I relaxed my shoulders as I pushed my mom into this very modern, very disability-friendly museum, “No problems here.” And I settled in to really enjoy the day.
We rolled by the children playing in the child-size version of a supermarket. Mama followed the skipping children with her eyes and commented, “Look how happy they are!”
She kept scanning the crowd looking for the liveliest and loudest and smiling at them. She nodded at the children playing with toy trains.
We pushed past children playing in reading adventure land and into the hushed waiting area of the butterfly pavilion.
A woman from the museum primly explained the marvels we were about to experience in the exquisite butterfly exhibit and our group was ushered in the luminous pavilion. There was a walkway surrounded by lush and fragrant plants. A gentleman sneezed and dabbed at his nose with a linen handkerchief.
The prim woman explained about how extraordinarily special these butterflies were and as she spoke colorful winged creatures fluttered by us. The prim woman got a bit excited as one butterfly flew close to mama.
Her “Oh, look!” sounded more like a warning than like a cry of excitement and mama turned to see these large wings fluttering near her head; mama swatted at the creature.
“Dammit to Hell! Get that thing away from me!” she said with her best World War II army nurse voice.
“Mama, it’s just a butterfly….” I tried to soothe as I cringed hoping the damn thing wouldn’t turn and charge us, I added, “I think we’ll wait for the rest of you outside.”
And mama and I left to watch the children playing reading adventure land.