Monday, September 21, 2009

Certain Things are Apparently Unforgettable (written January 2009)

I knew the transition of moving from Florida to Michigan would be confusing for my Mom. Daily I remind her that she now lives with me. Nightly I remind her that the bedroom is in the opposite direction. I honestly thought that after a while she'd catch on and accept her new surroundings. Well, she's pretty content -- but, as I say repeatedly, she's yet to find the bedroom or bathroom on her own.

In passing discussions, I've agreed with others that anything new in her life will be difficult for my Mom to remember. She seems to have much more trouble with short-term memory than long-term. Makes sense to me. Or at least it did, until... we bought a new pair of white slippers!

They hung on the clearance rack at Target. $1.99 for a terry cloth pair of slippers with poms as tassels. A total bargain, but super bad idea for a lady that has no peripheral vision and trouble walking. They didn't seem all that safe.

My Mom was beyond enamoured with both the slippers and the bargain. I bought them. I figured we'd get them home, she'd go to bed, I'd throw them out and we'd all walk safely into the next day. I was sooooo wrong. First, she had to sleep with the slippers. Under her pillow. The next morning she had them on before she even thought about stretching out of the bed. We had to admire them throughout the day while she tilted her foot to and fro. It was hilarious. (And I guess not that unexpected. Friends and family call me "Imelda" for my shoe collection, the truth is they should call me "Wyn." Pre-kids, my Mom was known as quite the clothes horse and she still is. More on that in a different entry....)

The slippers remained a hit for two full days when an all out tragedy struck (Luckily not a safety issue, she walks in them just fine.): one of the cheap $1.99 poms fell off, knocking that new shoe smile right off my Mom's face. She was devastated. Luckily I still had the sewing kit she gave me as a gift long ago. To my surprise she sewed that pom back on by herself. I was floured.

And it didn't end there. For the next two weeks wherever we went she recounted the story of her new slippers. In great detail she'd explain how she found them on sale, how they used to have two poms, then one fell off and she sewed it back on. (That pom stuck, but another fell off and we never found it.) So she'd end the story by explaining the loss of yet another pom and how she cut one off so now each slipper has one pom.

Those damn slippers have now become my greatest nemesis and my greatest joy. As you can see by the photo she still sleeps with them often, now evidently secure enough to leave them on top of the pillow. They're practically worn thin. Every time I see them on her size 9 feet I have to chuckle. I think she loves them more than me. I've bought replacement slippers and she'll wear them, but she'll always check to make sure the white ones are still in sight. "Those are mine," she says.

She doesn't have to worry about them going anywhere. I have a secret plan to someday let her wear them in her final resting spot. They not only brought her a ton of joy in her new life in Michigan, but they serve as a great reminder to me, as her caregiver, to always give her the benefit that she's mentally not as far gone as I sometimes might think.

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