At my age I can say it . . . I remember going to the hop, the teen canteen . . . and dancing to songs like Bobby Darin’s Queen of the Hop and Danny and The Juniors’ At the Hop!
I recall seventy years ago ‘hop‘ meant jumping up and down on one foot, and then, a few years later, we did that jumping up and down at a party and renamed it dancing, as we had learned in class— where the boys stood on one side of the room and the girls clustered on the other side. We were no longer swinging and swaying, we were bopping at the hop! That dancing would soon be renamed – again – to rockin’ and rollin’ and then, when the Bunny Hop was popular, we learned to ‘line dance!’ Even more recently, Hip Hop evolved for the physically fit!
Today when I turn on the ‘oldies,’ my loved one’s eyes light up, his arms start reaching out, his shoulders rise and fall, his body comes alive. . . right there in the chair where he spends most of his recent hours, his head is bobbing back and forth with the beat of the music.
He does not remember the song titles. Currently in stage 7 of Alzheimer’s, he can no longer retrieve the memory of the specific dances, the names of partners he danced with, nor the dance hall where they went, but his muscle memory has not forgotten! I love to watch it . . . the foot bouncing, the arms and hands twisting, and the big bright-eyed, feel-good smile on his face! I clasp his hands, and he continues to sway but he does not get up to dance. He just seems to be happy with the feeling. What better morning activity than to listen to music that makes someone feel that good?
He was a good dancer in his day, and even as recent as five years ago he still had his ‘jitterbug moves’ . . . I am reminded how quickly our abilities can vanish!!’ (Read “Fancy Pants Dancer,” chapter twenty-four, in Is There Any Ice Cream?)
The other day I found the word hop presented with a new meaning, which fits my later years in life! H.O.P. can mean Helping. One. Person.
This new, expanded definition acknowledges that at this stage of my hopping years, one person is all I can help! I know I cannot be a caregiver for more than one loved one, at least not at the same time. When our dog was terminally ill, I learned that!
This new idea of H.O.P. makes me feel very happy that I can still hop! Sometimes I have to hop faster than I ever hopped before! I have to ‘hop to it,’ or I better ‘get crackin’, or ‘shake a leg’ . . . oh, right, those are not hops . . . but anyway, sometimes I do have to move quickly to help what needs helping!
This idea of H.O.P. validates my role in the caring world, confirms my value as a caregiver, where I am giving the best help I can, 24/7, to my one person…in a style related to my age, of course.
For a brief second, I even thought of my niece and her husband who raise hops, and wondered if the calming effect of beer with this stability agent could help those on their journey. But, I felt I would be reaching too far to suggest we all meet at the pub on Friday nights!
Then, just to see if I have missed other, more recent, definitions of hop I checked the dictionary. And there I spotted another hop meaning new to me: “passage, trip, journey.” But it makes perfect sense, I just do not recall learning it. As a result I believe this circuitous search has brought me to the conclusion that some caregivers are HOP SURVIVORS! I know I am!
Join me! I am sure anyone who has any amount of caregiving tenure providing care for one who is too fragile to carry on alone, a position of grave responsibility, has earned a HOP Survivor card.
HOP SURVIVORS deserve to feel good about themselves! We have endured the same type transitions as the word hop itself—from our first days stepping onto our path, and then adapting to our loved one’s changes, hopping to respond to their needs, until the days we accept the gift of having their life in our hands. Through our years of caring we have been called kind, desperate, compassionate, frustrated, empathetic, angry, patient, loving. Now we can add one more characterization that shows concern —HOP SURVIVOR.
GET YOUR OWN HOP SURVIVOR card, below. Then, every time you look at your HOP SURVIVOR card, SMILE 😊, feel that warm, fuzzy feeling, 🥰 knowing you did an amazing job, and remember, you are a HOP Survivor! A ‘Helping-One-Person Survivor.’ You deserve to feel special!
DOWNLOAD here . It is a 3-1/2″ jpg image. Print it out on 4″x6″ photo paper, and then confidently write your name on it! 🤗 ~jas
I know, maybe I went the long way around, but some days I feel like being whimsical…it is my mental detour. . . this time I talked about my visions. (See Night Visitors, My Love’s visions story) Question: are hallucinations contagious?
By the way, I even found a HOP SURVIVOR cup in a store!
. . . Until next time, stay safe and take care of you!
Goin’ to the Hop (c) 2020 Judith Allen Shone
ORIGINAL ART credits:
dancers art: Clker-Free-Vector-Images
frog in grass: © dannyphoto80 Megapixl.com
frog w/ crown: © Vilax | Megapixl.com
frog hopping: © Drawinglounge | Megapixl.com
frog card art: © Dobrynina | Megapixl.com
Watercolour flowers: lucianapappdesign
New book was released August, 2020.
Did You Hide the Cookies?
Inescapable Heartaches of Caregiving for My Love with Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, and COPD, Accepting the Gift of Caregiving, Part Two
this series begins with the stories in the book published in 2019:
Is There Any Ice Cream?
Surviving the Challenges of Caregiving for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s, Anxiety and COPD, Accepting the Gift of Caregiving, Part One.
LARGE type – easy reading.
BOTH BOOKS can be ordered from all booksellers online including Amazon, for eBook, Paperback or Hardcover.