Back when Mom was first at Bickford, when I helped her with something, she would jokingly say that I was her mother, and we would laugh. As the years have passed, questions about where her mother was would come up. “I think I can ask you,” she said to my sister a year or so ago. “WHERE is Mom?” Yes, she meant our grandmother, so my sister told her that her mother had died 25 years ago. “Really.” Mom looked amazed, but took it in stride; it was not upsetting to her. I’ve been asked similar questions since, and so far, telling her that her mother died hasn’t been upsetting. Lately, though, there’s been an new twist.
Mom now informs me that her mother took care of something or other. For example, I complimented her on the outfit she was wearing–everything looked nice together!–and she said, “I think Mom did that.” She has also asked if one of the aides is her mother (obviously, the clothes-chooser is the “mother” she refers to [side point: note that I said "refers" not "references." Refer is the verb, reference a noun. Just in case you wonder]. At the foot appointment the other day, the nurse commented that Mom was handling everything well, and Mom said, “I have a good mother,” indicating me. It’s been said a million times before, but yes, if your parents live long enough, you become their parent. The nurse said, “You were a good mother, too,” at which Mom rolled her eyes. No compliments, please!
Mom had a little comeuppance today in regard to her habit of tickling and poking people. It’s good-natured, but unwelcome to pretty much everyone. The only way to stop it in a friendly way is poke her back. She then laughs with delight. I think it’s a way of communicating fun now that she cannot ready joke with others as a way to connect. But today, apparently, Mom started tickling a man next to her at the table, and he tossed his drink in her face. She was very surprised, and reported this to my sister. Perhaps she’ll remember for awhile to leave people alone–this is a problem, especially with people who haven’t known her and understand her.
A quick giggle: Dad asked me for Bandaids; I mentioned it to my sister and she had already gotten them. Of course we thought he’d used up the ones he had for various minor injuries–wouldn’t you? My sister found out that he had found another use. You know how when elderly folk lose a little bladder control and wear “briefs?” Dad has gone to this solution: the briefs occasionally tear on the side–the “fabric” is poor quality–so guess what Dad is using to repair them?