Dad’s Birthday, Visiting Mom, Dingo, Monkeys.


Yesterday would have been my dad’s 92nd birthday. He’s been gone now for almost nine years. The only thing he cared about at the end, was that mom would always be looked after when he wasn’t around anymore. A few Christmas’s ago, my sister painted this portrait from a wartime photo, of dad in his sailor’s uniform. It now hangs on mom’s wall at the care home.


When I arrived to see her today, she was lying on her bed, looking so cosy and warm under her mohair blanket. I kissed her forehead, but she didn’t open her eyes, so I just sat there for a while, looking at her face and feeling so much love for this wonderful mom of mine. I started talking to her about all the fun holidays and outings to the seaside we’d had as kids, and gradually, she came to and smiled at me. “Picnics,” she said, with a twinkle in her eye. Suddenly that one word, brought memories flooding back to me of my mom, young and fit, busily making delicious sandwiches, boiling eggs, buttering homemade scones and packing the picnic hamper with goodies, plus flasks of tea and bottles of cold drink. On a Sunday afternoon, we would all pile into dad’s car, and off we would go to some unknown destination. As children, we didn’t really care where we went, as long as there was a picnic at the end of the journey. Sometimes we’d go to a stately home in the country, and sit on blankets on the lawns, enjoying our sumptuous fare. My sister and I would then go off exploring, whilst our parents had a well-earned snooze in the sunshine. When travelling to the seaside, we’d usually stop in a lay-by for some refreshment. Out would come the picnic table and folding chairs, and whilst the traffic whizzed past us at frighteningly close quarters, we would munch on cheese sandwiches and rock cakes. There was no such thing as fast food outlets along the highways in those days. If you didn’t take it with you, you just didn’t get to eat.

Mom’s memory is fading so much these days, but with little prompts from me, she was able to recall people and incidents from our past, and seemed to really enjoy the tales I related to her. It was a very precious half hour. My sister then arrived with her dog, Dingo, and that really perked mom up. She was soon up and out of bed and sitting out on the verandah in the sunshine. Dingo was delighted with all the fuss she was making of him. Just look at the soppy look on his face.


All the while we were sitting there, the monkeys were playing in the trees. There were so many of them, big ones and tiny babies too. How many can you spot? If you click on the pic, it should enlarge.


The lady sitting next to mom, said that they are a wonderful source of entertainment for all the residents at the care home. Much better than TV, that’s for sure.


This was my Saturday morning in six words. How was yours?



99 comments on “Dad’s Birthday, Visiting Mom, Dingo, Monkeys.

  1. Pingback: Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Week (45) | Quarksire

  2. What a beautiful post. It teared me up, but it’s good to know that memories never fading away. The little doggie is a good helper. So glad she felt better. Pawkisses for a beautiful Thursday πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Bumper roundup and start of new week (45) | Hope* the happy hugger

  4. Your dad sound like he was special. Thank you for sharing these tender moments with your mother. Brought back memories of happy times with mine πŸ™‚

    • Absolutely right, Rommel. I’m visiting mom as often as I can whilst we’re over in South Africa. I think you’re spot on with 13, although there were many more running around the place. πŸ™‚

  5. My mom passed at age 38 and I find it so touching to read these accounts of childhood memories made with mother. Thanks Sylvia, very touching.

  6. Such a loving & heart-warming post.
    Happy belated birthday to your dad from my heart to Heaven. As you know – he shares the same birthday as my middle child. She read your message to me. And – her response – touched my heart. As it came straight from her.
    I love the painting that your sis made of your dad’s image. Priceless.
    So sweet how you describe your interaction with your mom. You are a wonderful daughter.
    Much love & hugs to you & your family. ❀

  7. Seeing your mother in this picture really reminded me of my mother, Sylvia. My father has been gone for 11 years so I can really relate here. I hope you have a wonderful week πŸ™‚

  8. Oh what a lovely post of such precious memories you share here of your picnics Sylvia. We did just the same, always egg sandwiches with flasks of tea and scones and cakes! How wonderful for your mom to smile at her memories and to have your dad’s portrait in her room. Love the cheeky look on Dingo’s face, priceless πŸ™‚ Funnily enough I had a picnic of sorts on Saturday in Lewes with my boys, eldest son’s girlfriend and hubby so we are in like-minds πŸ™‚ xx

  9. My dad died about 18 months before my mother. But it had been more than 20 years before that he’d told me I’d be looking after my mother. And we did. We all do it. It’s not too difficult. I’m sure he wd be pleased πŸ™‚

  10. I know these visits will stay with you for a long time Sylvia . When you’re faraway they’ll bring back lovely memories of the wonderful Mother and daughter relationship you both enjoyed even when your Mom was becoming ever more frail and forgetful .
    I recall those halcyon days of picnics .. complete with primus stove πŸ™‚
    Ah look at Dingo … great softie

    • Yes they will, Poppy. It does us both good to remember those “halcyon” days, when it always seemed to be sunny and warm, and we were without a care in the world. πŸ™‚ Yes, Dingo is a really sweetie, but also a great guard dog.

  11. Such a warm and tender visit with your mom. Sharing those lovely memories of your picnics must have been so wonderful for both of you! I imagine these visits as being a bit bittersweet, as mine were. So good that you are making the most of them while you can!

  12. What a simply elegant and moving post Sylvia. I am worried about my mother if I move….and monkeys all around ! ! !

  13. A wonderful time with your mom is something to be cherish at this time and her time. Your visit to your mom reminded me again that our moms have been on this earth and are just waiting for their time. I too will be visiting my 96 year old mom this December. She is still mentally sharp but complains that she is tired.

    • Thanks, Mona. Your mom is a good age, and like my 100-year-old MiL, she is “mentally sharp” which is such a blessing. My mom isn’t so fortunate, and is very frail. I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing your mom in December. It will be such a precious time.

  14. Heartwarming, for sure.
    It is sad that. with the monkeys, some people are not prepared to pay for all the pleasure they can give with a little occasional inconvenience when they get too bold and do some affirmative shopping in tune with the New Soutn Africa.

  15. Beautiful words, Sylvia. Once again, your sister’s artistic talent shines in that incredible portrait of your father. What a treasure for all to enjoy. It’s amazing how animals can bring our loved ones such joy.

    • Thanks so much, Lynne. I know that the portrait of dad is a great comfort to my mom, as she can see it when she’s lying in bed, and he seems to be looking right at her. Yes, animals are so therapeutic for all ages. The care home encourages family to bring their pets along, and, a couple of weeks ago, they had a visit from a mother and her daughter, who brought rabbits and little piglets for the residents to pet. Mom was so thrilled to have one of the piglets on her lap. πŸ™‚

  16. Aah, those were the days when one made ones own entertainment! The portrait is lovely. I do miss the monkeys’ antics but not the weariness of making sure there’s no food or fruit around when leaving doors and windows open. At least my Mynahs ask nicely for their food πŸ˜‰
    Give your Mom a hug from me. xxx

  17. You’ve taken over the 600 words roll from me, Ad πŸ™‚
    Good to know you can evoke these memories for each other. I’m reading a Rosie Thomas novel, ‘Iris and Ruby’, in which Ruby brings the past back to her grandmother. It’s a good read.

  18. Thank you for sharing this, Sylvia. Precious moments. A single word made many things happen…and animals – they are good for so much and so many. I feel warm inside for your mother and father and for you.

  19. It is wonderful to go down memory lane also with my mum, she does then suddenly remember much, even more than me. It is wonderful to have sweet memories together.

  20. I love that the trigger word picnics brought a flood of memories for your Mom. The monkeys in the trees give whole new meaning to pet therapy for residents and patients. I think that is fantastic stimulation and entertainment.

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