Life has been extremely busy, yet slow – does that even make sense? Let me explain:
Since Pamela’s wedding, we have had Mother’s Day, Bill’s birthday, Arulai’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, Kenny’s birthday, Daddy’s birthday (89!), and a friend’s wedding. But on a day-in, day-out basis, I have been going to work my 4 hours a day and coming home to be with Daddy and Mama each day. Being with Dad and Mom mostly consists of sitting with them, trying to engage them in conversation, attending to their [very few] needs, cooking supper, and watching the Astros each night with Daddy.
Getting Dad and Mom’s meals is probably the most trying part of my day. Neither of them have much of an appetite, and both have become such picky eaters! Dad will just say he’s not very hungry when he doesn’t want what I’ve fixed. I can most always get him to eat a bite or two of the undesired dinner, so I don’t worry too much about him.
This is not always the case with Mama. My Mama is not well known for her tact, and aging has not improved this quality at all! As with most characteristics in the elderly, her outspokenness has been enhanced with age! There are times when Mama doesn’t want what I’ve fixed for supper, so she will attempt to take a bite, and, with a descriptive shudder, say, “I just can’t eat this!”
It used to hurt my feelings every time, but now I just do her like I used to my kids and tell her that’s all we have, so if she doesn’t want it she can have a bread and butter instead. It’s not that I don’t try to fix them what they like for dinner. But neither one of them are able discern their own tastes anymore. I have cut out many recipes that Bill and I enjoy, and many of the things Mama used to fix when we were kids. They just don’t like them anymore.
I read an article from Rachael Ray recently encouraging caregivers to provide variety, even gourmet, meals for their elderly dependents. I’d love to provide variety (no possibility of gourmet food from me!), and I think they think they would like variety. But in reality, they will only eat the same few meal items – and sometimes I’m hard pressed to get Mama to enjoy anything at all.
I hope this doesn’t sound like a complaint. I’m truly not complaining – I just think it is so sad for them. My family has always enjoyed food – we celebrate even the smallest occasion with a feast! Other than myself, my family is full of great cooks! (I’m not a terrible cook, and I have a couple of recipes I do well, but I’m not at all a good cook.) So it is very sad to have Daddy and Mama just “put up with” meal times. At least Daddy’s summer tastes are different than his winter tastes. If I served one more pot of Chicken and Dumplings to my very patient husband, I think he would have moved back home!
One recent blessing for Bill and I has been Nathanael and Emily’s care for Dannye Reigh. Of course, she can certainly take care of herself, but since Pamela is gone we have hated the knowledge that Dannye is in our house all alone all the time. Dan’s full-time job is caring for children in our home, so she truly stays home all day, five days a week at least. I’m not there to keep up with grocery needs, etc. so I worry about her eating habits. Dannye is a protector – she doesn’t purposely add anything that might be a burden to Bill or me – and she is not a complainer. So I know she goes days eating only PBJ sandwiches (or such) before I find out she’s out of food in the house!!!
Recently, Emily told me that they are including Dannye in their mealtimes when Dan wants to. Emily loves to cook (I told you we are a family that loves food!) so it works for everyone! What a blessing for this worried Mommy!
I know this is long and rambling – if you got this far you are either a good friend or very bored!
God bless your weekend!