Tribute to Stacy and Clinton (not really)
I was watching “What Not to Wear” yesterday. You’ve seen it right? Hosts Stacy and Clinton kidnap some poor, fashion-clueless girl and give her a new wardrobe, haircut, and self-esteem. Last night, one mom talked about why she didn’t put any effort it her style. She said something like this: “Everyone comes before me. I just don’t have the time to make myself look good.” Hmm. You’re a caregiver, so you see exactly where I’m going with this…
I woke up with feeling dizzy, weak, and slightly nauseous. Nonetheless, I had been talking up the idea of going outside to my grandmother since yesterday, and couldn’t let the idea drop.
“Going outside” is not as easy as it sounds. Since Grandma lives in a large apartment building, running into someone she knows is inevitable. There’s always a group of seniors that sit outside on the bench, many of whom Grandma does not know…or can’t remember. Grandma is still quite self-aware at this stage, and feels embarrassed when she doesn’t recognize neighbors, or gets lost in conversation. Sometimes she reluctantly agrees to going outside, only to back out at the last minute.
So when today she said “Yes,” I knew that I had no time to waste!
I started early—bathed her, picked out her clothes, did her hair, cleaned her glasses. I ran through our “going out list” that I had composed several weeks ago. Bottle of water? Check. Snacks? Check. Sweater? Got it. Tissues? In the bag.
Everything loaded in the basket of her walker, I went to fetch Grandma. She was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at her reflection. “What are you doing?” I asked hesitantly, afraid that she was about to change her mind. She looked at me expectantly. “I need to put my lipstick on.” I smiled at her sweet response. “Of course you do, Grandma!” and handed it to her. Ever so gingerly, she applied a rich purple shade. “I’m ready now,” she announced proudly. I took a step back, and checked her out. “You look good, Grandma!” She smiled, pleased by the compliment.
On our way out, I glanced at myself in the full-length mirror near the door. Yikes! No make-up. Braids hastily pulled back in a ponytail. Grungy t-shirt and baggy khakis. Dark circles under my eyes, due to lack of sleep and possibly a stomach bug. Stacy and Clinton certainly would not have approved!
Now, I’ve never been what they call a “fashionista.”But I at least try to fix myself up before going out—make up, decent blouse, you know what I mean. Yet today, it just didn’t seem as important. It was more important that Grandma look and feel good. No time to think about me. And it was worth it! We sat outside for over an hour. Several people said hello, and we even ran into an old family friend. I could tell that Grandma enjoyed herself.
So as I’m writing about this, I’m thinking about how this idea of “self-care” fits in. People are always telling us, “You’ve got to take care of yourself. Remember the “secure your own oxygen mask before the child’s” analogy. Yes, I agree—I’ve got to take care of myself. I need to rest when I’m sick, take breaks, be good to me.
Yet there are these days…good days where Grandma feels so good and normal, where nothing else matters to me but her happiness. And there are bad days….days when Grandma is in pain or feels miserable, where nothing else matters but comforting her. I guess those are the days that we break our own “self-care” rules, and push past our limits so that they can have a better day.
Saturday was Grandma’s day. But Sunday’s coming—and that’s my day. My day to get filled back up—in church, then maybe to a museum, or a coffee shop with friends, or just sit alone in the park. Or if I’m still sick, I’ll stay in bed, and let my uncle take care of grandma and me!
I’m still feeling a little queasy tonight. But wow, today was a good day. It was Grandma’s day. It was worth it.
- Fighting Fair (caregiving.com)
- Gamer Grandma (caregiving.com)
- My Mama Is a Rockstarr (caregiving.com)
- I’m Sorry, Grandma. Tomorrow Will Be Better. (caregiving.com)
- Who Knew? Who Remembered? (caregiving.com)
- Judgement Free Zone (caregiving.com)
- Grieving Over Life’s Sudden-ness (caregiving.com)
- No Filter (caregiving.com)