Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia


My brilliant cat.

Mom was never a cat person.  Wait, revise that.  Mom was never an animal person.  She grew up on a farm where animals were outside not inside.  My father loved cats so we had them growing up and all through high school with Mom’s clear position being that once my sister’s cat from junior high died, that there would be not more cats in her house.  It did not help that my sister’s cat occasionally pushed over valuable breakable items around the house.

When Mom moved in with me, that rule had to be revisited since I was not about to give away my cat.  I have had her for 8 years now and though she’s a bit annoying at times, the cat is a part of my life.  So, Mom and cat had to get used to each other.

A few months ago, Mom informed me that my cat was her best friend.  It was a bittersweet moment since it showed Mom’s lessening comfort interacting with people, but it was lovely that she has come to really like having the cat around.  My cat does provides some good company since she is affectionate and extremely vocal.  Mom tends to feel that they are in regular conversation, since the cat meows so much!  Even with Mom’s limited cognition, my cat clearly communicates her needs for food and water by wildly meowing and running to her bowl. Her persistence pays off and one of Mom’s sole remaining jobs around the house is pet food duty.

Mom has come to believe that my cat is brilliantly intelligent, which I suspect is partly a reflection of Mom comparing my cat’s functioning level to her own.  The cat however thinks quite highly of herself and I suspect appreciates that someone finally understands how amazing she is.  The cat has certainly been a winner in our new family set up.


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Buying all the books.

Mom and I walked to the bookstore the other night. 

Books have been central to my family always.  A vacation means tossing 4 or more books in a bag and weekly trips to the library were a childhood tradition. 

It is funny now because reading is harder for Mom but she still does a lot of it, even when she rereads the same page or chapter time and again.  There was one book I saw her reading for more than a month.  (Which makes less sense for someone with zero responsibilities and days with nothing but time.)

But Mom still reads.  So we walked to the bookstore and picked up a few new books. She was delighted even though I have a strong suspicion that one of our purchases is something she previously read.  Mom suggested a book for me titled How to Be an American Housewife, which she found humorous as a choice for me. 

As we were leaving she told me that she would like to buy all the books in the store and bring them home.  I loved her exuberance. It is wonderful to see Mom still find joy in things that are core to how she lived her life and how she and I have so often connected.