Sometimes it’s just the monotony of the visits that wear me out. Yesterday I stopped to buy some mock turtle tops for Mom, and also delivered a vest I picked up for her–her wardrobe needed a boost for colder weather. I wanted Mom to try on the clothes in case I’d guessed wrong for size; taking her shopping anymore is just too hard. So I started peeling off her shirt, realizing in the process that she really can’t dress herself anymore, and of course, as always, she started tickling me and poking me. I poked her back–a reaction to her humor is the only thing that will stop it–but it was so predictable and boring that I was barely able to maintain my patience, instead of snapping at her to STOP IT! Mom used to occasionally tickle or poke, which I really didn’t like all that much, but now it’s part of every visit. Monotony. Then of course the mock turtle sleeves were too long, so those had to dropped off to be altered–one more tiresome chore.
Then we went outside in the sun, and Dad joined us. He began talking again about that morning’s shower, and something about his hearing aids, none of which made any sense. Heaven help us, we were talking about his showers AGAIN. I’m tempted to ask him what on earth makes the showers so important, but I already know: his need for a predictable schedule. Then I realized I was having to SHOUT at him, and asked him to check his hearing aids; communicating this request took a lot out of me. The hearing aid in his “good” ear didn’t squeal, the signal that the aid is not working. I shouted that I wanted to put a battery in it to see if it would help. “A battery?” he chuckled. “Well, OK,” as if I’d suggested dipping it in honey to see if that would help. Oh the monotony of going through this to get a new battery in. He put in the newly batteried hearing aid. “Can you hear better?” “Of course I can,” he said a little irritably, “it has a new battery.” Yes. Yes it does.
Today I picked up his hearing aid, took it to have a new tube put on, and another new battery, and he now hears so much better that it is a blessing to both of us. Worth the effort, and I’m glad I did it. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” my husband says, “but it’s all small stuff.” Life, no matter what the immediate situation we are living in, has its tedium. Finding the good in the ordinary is the challenge. I’ll take away Dad’s smile when he could hear so much better, and Mom telling me that she LOVES the new vest because it’s so pretty and soft. This is enough today.