SHERIDAN — It was a déjà vu moment for the Giavotis family. But for mother Ann it was an especially magical moment; she just did not know such a moment was coming when she woke that morning.
“Get out of your pajamas, we’re coming to get you,” Ann Giavotis’ son, John Gaviotis, said on the phone. Gaviotis took his mother to Java Moon to meet up with his wife, Dana, and siblings, Rosie and Mike. The Giavotis family enjoyed its gatherings at the coffee house. This morning, some special friends from the Senior Center family caregiver services program also joined the family.
The Giavotis children had been planning to make this morning extra special for their mom. She was feeling the limitations of having voluntarily given up her driver’s license.
She had become too weak to walk from her car to the store to shop. She shared her decision to give up her keys with her family. In time, she began to talk about an electric scooter. Her children began the conversation among themselves.
“Even if she had a scooter for only one summer, let’s get her one,” Dana Giavotis said.
The Gaviotis siblings immediately thought of the Senior Center’s loan closet; they had gotten other items for their mom from there.
The group gathered at a table looking toward Main Street. Ann Giavotis looked out the window of the coffee shop. There was an electric wheelchair parked in front decorated with prayer flags. A large red apple sat on the seat.
“See that buggy right there, that’s exactly what I want for my freedom,” Ann Giavotis said. “I still didn’t get it.”
The rest of the group was anxiously waiting for her to notice it and say something. The moment had come.
John Giavotis handed their mother a set of prop keys to the electric wheelchair. The group revealed their secret.
“I got hysterical, what a surprise,” Ann Giavotis said.
“It was such an ‘Aha’ moment,” Jan Quinn said. “It was such fun to see such family support and the enthusiasm for their mom.”
Quinn works in the Senior Center’s family caregiver program and had been in on the surprise from the moment the family called.
Ann Giavotis rode the wheelchair to her home blocks away while her children walked by her side.
This was not the first time her children had rallied for wheels for their mother. The four siblings — John, Mike, Rosie and Georgia, plus John’s wife, Dana — had surprised their mother seven years earlier with another set of wheels.
Ann Giavotis had always wanted a yellow MINI Cooper. The siblings gathered and found one for their mother. They parked the MINI Cooper on Main Street in front of Java Moon and gathered the group to go out for coffee.
Ann Giavotis and her family sat at the same table at Java Moon. She spied a yellow MINI Cooper parked on Main Street.
“See that yellow car right there,” she said. “That’s what I want. I would like to have one of those.”
Next thing she knew, Ann Giavotis had the keys in hand and went for a ride in the surrounding countryside. She enjoyed her new Cooper with the license plate APPLE for years.
When Ann Giavotis received her scooter, it was déjà vu; the experience when she received a car was recreated.
Today, Ann Giavotis uses her electric wheelchair to visit nearby Kendrick Park to watch children in the municipal pool or to observe the birds.
“Every aging parent should have fun times like that,” Ann Giavotis said.