Yesterday my husband and I traveled across the state to hear our oldest son’s Christmas concert in a chorale of about 50 singers. The concert was excellent, and our dear daughter-in-law provided a buffet meal afterward–a nice day. As we got to the car, I got a call from the stylist who is kind enough to come to Bickford to cut Mom’s hair (thanks, K!) saying she could come tomorrow, that is today, Monday, at 9:00. Whiner that I am, I said that I was in Kalamazoo, that we would be getting home late…and K. graciously offered 10:00 as an alternative. I wasn’t asleep before 1 a.m.–I was jazzed from driving–so her willingness to come a little later was a gift. Also, Mom’s hair looks great; there’s so little we can control anymore, it’s nice to see Mom’s hair looking nice, and know that it will remain looking nice for 6-8 weeks.
When I arrived to get Mom to the living room to wait for K., I found Mom in bed under the covers. Uh-oh. Was this a day she was refusing to get up? I unthinkingly whipped back the covers, saying, “Hi, Mom,” as I did so. She sat straight up and looked completely confused and disoriented, and gasped a little. I had wakened her from a deep sleep, and obviously scared her. I apologized profusely, and told her to take her time waking up. I was relieved to see that she was dressed and that her hair had been washed, though, and eventually she was able to get up. We met K. in the living room, and headed for the salon. After Mom’s hair was sprayed wet, K. pinned the hair on her crown on top of her head while she cut the hair in back. Mom looked kind of cute–a lot like she would have as a child, I think. I told her she looked like Pebbles from the Flintstones, but of course the reference meant nothing. Later, back in her room, she was pleased that the long hair in the back was gone–it had been bothering her. I waited too long to get this haircut done! I sprayed a little hairspray on the front so the hair wouldn’t get in her eyes, and she was set for the day.
In room 212, Dad told me about a song that had come to his mind from when he was a child; he thought from second grade: “Thou would still be adored as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will…” but he didn’t know the rest of the words. He’d learned this song around the time “of the eye business,” by which he meant the very serious infection he had behind his eyeball at the age of 7. With no antibiotics, the only treatment was to remove the eye and scrape the infection out [shudder], and fortunately both his life and the eye were saved by the doctor to whom the family was eternally grateful. He had me feel where the gouge in the bone over his eye had been, saying that it was smoothing out, but he “wouldn’t done anything about it.” I’ll say not, Dad! I assured him that if he brought it to the attention of a physician, there would be no treatment. Methinks he sits and thinks a little TOO much sometimes. As I left, I offered to take down the words he could remember from the song, and see if I could find all the lyrics on the internet, and indeed I did. I’ll take them to him tomorrow, and I know he’ll be pleased. Little moments like this, when I can please him with a small effort, are rewarding to us both, especially because he–and Mom–are so appreciative. As I left the building, I heard a new resident weeping about having to swallow some medication. She is very elderly, and the son who crooned comfort to her was clearly rather elderly himself; I’d guess in his 70s. Is there no limit to this parent care? My heart went out to both of them, and I remembered how blessed I was that Mom and Dad do not complain or weep–they are troopers and carry on the best they can; I try to do the same, and hope I can if/when I end up where they are someday.