Not quite the plan

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


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Some things stay the same.

I was of course nervous for my first visit to Mom at the facility.  She had been so reluctant walking in and had always expressed opposition to the inevitable move. 

But I was pleasantly surprised.  Mom was in a good mood.  We sat together and chatted in our usual way of some sense and some nonsense.  And then, out of the blue, Mom corrected my grammar in her best imperious schoolteacher tone. 

And suddenly all felt right with the world.  Mom was herself, we were connecting and we were both okay. 

It amazes me these glimpses of Mom as she always was.  She is still herself underneath all the messiness in her brain.

But to update, now it has been a couple of weeks and things are good.  Mom has some particular buddies at the facility.  She knows which room is hers.  And one tired daughter gets to go out at night again!

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Glimpses.

In college, a professor shared the sentence with us, “the way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
For some reason this concept flits through my mind constantly.  Is it true?  For some people?  Or do all of us have inconsistencies?

My mother tended toward the consistent, proving this sentence more often than not.  She was always organized, always capable, always classy, always thorough.  I am still quite capable of exhausting myself trying- always unsuccessfully- to live up to her standard.  

Most of those qualities that most defined her for so many years are gone now.  I sometimes have to remind myself that just a couple of years ago, she was the most together person I knew.  The memory fades as I assist her with increasingly basic tasks.

But this morning, I watched her pull a large bottle of orange juice out of the refrigerator.  Mom stood there with the juice, fully focused on shaking it.  It was a lengthy, thorough job.  And in that moment, Mom was fully her competent, thorough self.  That juice was properly shaken.

It is a funny thing to have noticed.  I cannot believe that I am sitting here hours later writing a blog post about a second in the kitchen making breakfast.  But it was a moment of glimpsing Mom’s quintessential nature.  And it was good to see her.