Friday, March 4

steady days

...are what we have been enjoying for the past six weeks
or so. Not without ups and downs, of course, and small sadnesses when I notice that Mom is losing a little ground. Some words have been harder for her to find, her habits that have been like clockwork...making the bed, washing her face morning and night, changing clothes....aren't so habitual these days. So there has been a little more oversight and reminding than usual, and therefore a little bit more of Mom's comments to me in the vein of "Ok, Mom" after I make a suggestion. I am taking it with good humor most of the time, but I have many ideas up my sleeve for taking my suggestions and reminders out of the picture now and then.

As a mother, I have been fond of creating little signs and lists and such to guide my sons in their tasks over the years. I made one just this morning to help my 18-year old move through his home studies with just a little more efficiency and focus. The thing is....I just don't know if they will work for Mom.

But if she starts waking up more in the night, or my "reminding" ("cueing" I remember the assisted living place called it) starts to bother her (or me), we will give my ideas a try. For now, we will just go on trying to keep the days steady. That phrase comes from a mothering book I found today at the library that I will be reading to see if there is anything in it that will help smooth our days (whether we have a child in the house or not). I've learned that the steadiness or wobbliness of the day mostly depends upon me. I lost my calm and acceptance for a few days early in the week, and those days really reflected it....mostly inside myself....but that is profound enough to greatly alter my patience and creativity with Mom...and to cause many a tear to fall (mine-in private).  Equilibrium is back again, and I am grateful for it, tho' I don't know why it left or why it returned. Sometimes I am aware that I lose it because I drop my defenses against all that is hard and sad and perplexing about all of this. And sometimes I wonder if it is healthy to cope so much through avoidance....but it is working for now, and I have plenty of time to add more facets to my coping in the future. For now, we are in a good groove...

...never more so than we are zipping along in Mom's convertible beetle, along the straight country roads, listening to the old and new songs I find on the radio, tapping our hands. The best times are when Mom will sing a line or two, it usually happens with songs from the seventies...the Bee Gees, Billy Joel...and I realize that I am the age Mom would have been when those songs where topping the charts. Then I put that thought away and get back in the groove.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley!

I loved looking at your lovely lists up close when I clicked on them.

It was intersting to me that song and lists are a thread in caregiving for you, since those things have been a big part of my relationship with my mom too.

She's always been, and still is a big list maker, though as you might guess they're disjointed, nonsensical, and mostly fruitless now- sad and funny at the same time.

Enjoyed your post thoroughly, as always.

Take care!
Megan (aka Margaret)
p.s. I found a great bright, cheery, small and independently run assisted living for my mom to move into, and now she refuses to leave the familiar place she despises. Fear of the unknown is pretty powerful. We shall see....

melissa said...

My brother gave me a book title that, he says, seems to give a bit of balance to a day, esp. when there are too many balls to juggle.

It's available on Kindle, but I found it on Amazon and ordered a used copy, which should be here soon. Hope it helps my scattered mind.

It's 'A Minute of Margin' by Robert Swenson. I'm finding that I have to give myself permission to actually STOP. Not sure if that's an issue with you, but I do know you get overwhelmed, probably more often than not.

Take care, sweet one. :)