Not quite the plan

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


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Not necessary

In the midst of a recent conversation that did not make sense, Mom reached over to my bowl at the dinner table, pointed at it and said, this says, I am not necessary.

Once, Mom was quite necessary.  She was a mother of two, a small business owner, a friend, a wife, a sister, the member of her family who knew what was happening with every cousin and great aunt.  She organized events at our church and once upon a very long time ago, at my schools.  She threw great parties.  She maintained a beautiful home.

The productive version of Mom though has faded away.  When we first started living together, she would iron and do dishes for our house.  She felt that she contributed.  Gradually this has become harder until now when she simply feels unnecessary.

I know that when I go running out the door after a two minute morning talk, that Mom probably does not feel how much value I put on our exchanges.  But, I still need Mom.  Sure, she is no longer actually doing anything for me.  But being can be more important than doing– though it is perhaps less valued in our frenetically busy culture.

But I look forward to seeing Mom and knowing that she is safe and well.  We still laugh together.  She is still my mother and my friend.  I still need whatever part of her that remains with us, as long as possible.

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Dressing for breakfast.

The other weekend, I heard Mom up early and stumbled out of bed to go make her breakfast. Downstairs I went in what I had been sleeping in– some awesome yoga pants covered with animal prints that a good friend of mine gave me several years ago, bare feet and a tank top.

So I started making us pancakes and Mom looked at me and pointed out that I was probably cold. She gets cold easily and to be fair, the winter has been serious lately. But I don’t get cold easily especially since we turn up the heat a lot for Mom. I was cheerfully making my pancakes.

Five minutes later, Mom tried again. She pointed out that I might want to cover up. Her next line was not terribly articulate but seemed to be a comment about women that I took as meaning that I was not appropriately dressed in my tank top. Perish the thought that I should not have done my hair and put on a coordinated outfit before making pancakes for the family!

A moment later she brought up the cold again. This point was not to be dropped.

Silly as it felt to have Mom telling me repeatedly to go get some clothes on, I could not help but appreciate that she still worries about me. It’s her way of continuing to mother me, at least in certain moments. What kind of mother lets her daughter wander about in tank tops and bare feet in the middle of winter?