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One of the main reasons Joseph and Erika came to visit was to go see Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil in Fresno.  When a loved one has dementia, it is impossible to know from day to day how they “on” they will be…and the situation can change in a heartbeat.

So it was with a bit of trepidation mixed with lots of excitement that we packed up the girls today and set out for Aunt Betty’s.  I had already shared with Joseph and Erika that the majority of the time Uncle Phil doesn’t know me, his oldest niece and “practice child”.  So we were totally delighted when Uncle Phil recognized me and reached up with a hug, then understood when I reminded him that Joseph was my son, and Erika re-introduced herself as “Joseph’s sweetheart”.  Each time Uncle Phil reached up and hugged us and smiled.  It was so very wonderful!

We spent the afternoon hugging and visiting and sharing stories, all the while Lily and Olivia played with Aunt Betty’s doll houses and Build-a-Bear critters.  It was, to borrow a phrase from Aunt Betty, a “grand and glorious” day.

Eventually we went to fetch Chinese take-out from Panda Express while Uncle Phil napped.  When he woke up he was less alert, but it was still pretty good.  We left knowing that the day had been wonderful for all of us, and vowing that another visit would happen soon.

Of course we needed a family picture before we left.

Of course we needed a family picture before we left.

After Erika and I each took a few pictures, Olivia decided to head in close for snuggles.

Olivia and Uncle Phil getting snuggles

Olivia and Uncle Phil getting snuggles

I will be forever thankful for this day filled with love.