Mom has always had a good sense of humor and the dementia has made jokes one of the primary ways that she relates to me. We have a set of running jokes around the house, her favorite probably being her alcoholic daughter — moi. Mom is a non-drinker. I am nowhere near having an alcohol problem but it’s a well established joke now. When I pick up a bottle of wine at the store, we kid about how quickly I will drink it. Even better is if I buy a couple of bottles because then the fact that I am going to drink it all in 10 minutes is even more hilarious. In Mom’s mind, there are virtually unlimited opportunities to make jokes about my excessive alcohol consumption.
To be fair, sometimes I think the wine talk is partly her recognition of the stress that I do have and an acknowledgement that I need to relax more. Mom seems to really enjoy filling up my wine glass, usually far more than the splash that I tend to drink with dinner. It’s sweet, especially when she runs off to find the bottle and pour it for me. She does no meal preparation for herself and tends to be quite happy for me to cook, bake, set the table, and serve everything directly to her. But then she will get up to pour me some wine.
Lately though, the joke has taken a new turn. Mom has started complaining to me that she feels drunk herself first thing in the morning. I interpret this as her way of explaining the fogginess in her brain but it is somehow creating a bonding moment for us. I get to joke that we are both stumbling around drunk. Neither of us have been drinking a bit that time of day, but the joke works for us.
And in a weird way it’s true. Both of us are a bit out of our element in life right now and making all sorts of mistakes. I guess we are just a couple of drunk girls, living in an apartment in the city.
With this in mind, I tell her that she is a fun roommate. She laughs.