Sometimes Life is Like Circus Peanuts
By: Michelle Remold
I loved spending time at my grandparent’s house growing up, especially spending time with my grandpa. He was the “fun” grandparent and would allow us to do almost anything my grandma said we couldn’t, including sneaking us gum. One of my most vivid memories is my grandpa giving us his favorite candy, Circus Peanuts, a peanut shaped marshmallow candy. I disliked them when I was little and still don’t like them, but I quickly learned that while visiting grandpa and grandma, if grandpa wanted to give you Circus Peanuts you better take them because there was no other candy and if there was, we weren’t getting any. So I would take my handful of Circus Peanuts from my grandpa and pretend that I liked them.
As I was driving home from graduate school one night, I began to think about my grandpa and the dreadful Circus Peanuts. The more I thought about it, I realized that Circus Peanuts were a good analogy for life.
In earlier posts, I have written about how jealous I used to be of the kids in my class because their grandpa’s didn’t have Alzheimer’s and were still able to do things with them. By the time this realization hit me, my grandpa had been in the nursing home for a couple years. Little did I know that along the way, I was making memories.
By now, you are probably wondering what exactly Circus Peanuts have to with Alzheimer’s. Let me explain. I would be lying if I said that my experiences and journeys with having two grandparents with a form of dementia were easy. Truthfully, they each came with their own sets of experiences and lessons that I needed to learn and I am still learning from some of the lessons.
Much like with the Circus Peanuts, I have learned to accept what life gives me; which is often easier said than done. I still dislike Circus Peanuts, but treasure the memories associated with them. I might not like everything life throws my way, but each experience – good, bad, happy, and sad – is shaping me into the person I am becoming.
If there is a life lesson that Alzheimer’s has taught me, it’s that sometimes I just need to grab a handful of Circus Peanuts and keep on going because you never know what memories you are making or what lessons you are learning. Each time I see a bag of Circus Peanuts, I not only think of my grandpa, but also think about how Alzheimer’s has affected my life and reminds me that everything happens for a reason and though I may not know it at the time – it is shaping me. They also remind me to embrace each event in my life, good or bad, because each of these events are just handing me a bunch of Circus Peanuts and I will take each handful of Circus Peanuts and will make the best of them.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Aging from Minnesota State University Mankato.