Families have all sorts of traditions and things that make them tick. Often times the matriarch, or Mom in my case, designed the traditions. Whether it be holidays, events, or just cooking special meals like “rags” also called Indian fry bread when I was sad. She was wonderful with her systems.
I was the youngest of 4 and 8 years younger than my closest brother. So, I was a bit of an only child, had lots of friends but did things at home alone. I loved playing secretary but would definitely be the boss today. I had a desk with lots of supplies and did crafts in what my mom called the “rec room”. As a kid in the 70’s I did a lot of coloring.
Wrapped in our family traditions was family reunions.
Granted, it was just our immediate family. We were in the Midwest and the rest of our extended family was on the East Coast, but it was still a huge event. My sister was married with 6 kids, my brother married with 2 kids and my other brother had 4 girls. Over the years, I brought the occasional boyfriend and eventually my husband. With a total of 22, my parents would rent these huge cabinesque places near the many lakes in Oklahoma. Depending on the resort, some cabins were joined together a two for one combining bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. It was enormous, at least that is how I remember it.
Some years they would rent smaller cabins for each family but there was always a common area. Life flowed organically, as we like to say now. Kids came in and out, took naps, enjoyed lake time, walked, and spent time talking. I have fond memories of coloring books laying on the tables. The books would bring the family together for a relaxing time as we talked and colored.
Everyone grew up, Mom and Dad moved out of the area and the reunions turned into a couple of cruises. My folks ended up in Florida which made getting all of us together nearly impossible. My siblings’ kids had kids all over the country and life moved on. We always talk about the reunions and I think it was extra special for the cousins.
During this time, I continued a 30-year career as a dental hygienist. I got involved in oral-systemic health and began speaking and writing. I became focused on dementia prevention and the role dental providers have to help drive down the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease. Because Mom has dementia, I like to say I have skin in the game. She is doing well; is a doll and I fiercely love her.
Downtime leads to brainstorming
With the downtime during COVID, I was brainstorming with a friend and it led to the times that are emblazoned in my memory-coloring. We created coloring books. These are specifically designed for the world in which I live now. Coloring books for seniors and more specifically helpful for the population affected by cognitive decline. Coloring isn’t necessarily therapy but can be therapeutic for dementia patients as well as their caregivers.
Whether, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or even people suffering from schizophrenia, the books have beautiful calming benefits. In the past, it was difficult to find a coloring book that was simply designed but maintained an adult or mature theme. We created mandalas to reduce stress, invoke creativity, and, most importantly, show positive outcomes to this population. Coloring is multi-generational and can be enjoyed by all.
We created 4 books, Simple Mandala’s for Seniors, Simple Mandala’s for Left-handers, (we have a lot of lefties in our family), Healing Mandalas for Caregivers, and a Visually Impaired book. 10% of the proceeds are donated to research and it truly was a labor of love for our family. We did it to honor the best Mom on the planet. Mine!
You can find the coloring books HERE!