frustrated-758722_640What's one of the most horrible words a caregiver could dread? Surprise!

A couple of weeks ago, I'm having my last cup of coffee (this is around 10:30 or so), I'm still in my pjs (but I usually am), Dad's sleeping, the house was a wreck because I was packing for my trip. Someone knocks on the door. I went to the door and was scared senseless (for better choice of words). One of Dad's distant cousins who lives about 1 1/2 hours away was on my doorstep along with her husband.

I know I was just standing there with my mouth open.

She said the dreaded word, "Surprise!" Just as happy as that and I could have died. I said "Oh my", she said, "We just decided to ride down and see you all this morning." They didn't call, they didn't email, text, write, pass go, NOTHING. So I invite them in trying to figure out what to do first. I told her, "Why didn't you tell me you were coming?" She said, "I wanted it to be a surprise." Really.

I went to visit them for a day trip last summer, they knew a week in advance when I was coming. To me that's just what you do. They also came bearing veggies from their garden which was nice but I was really taken aback. I told them to wait PLEASE while I checked on Dad. I went back and had to wake him up. I said Dad, "I hate to tell you this but you have some company." His words, well I can't put those in the blog but they went something like "OH S*&@! What do they want?"

I can't tell you how many years it had been since they had been to visit. I know it was before Mom passed. So I washed his face, combed his hair (his room is currently a train wreck due to re-organization of his closet), and raised him up in bed. They came back and looked him over, I guess they wanted to check and see if he was breathing. They talked to him for a few, asked him some cognitive questions (how old are you now?) that type of thing, really made Dad ill. Then they said they'd be going, just wanted to come down and surprise us. So they drove a good 1 1/2 hours just to torment me. I guess that's family for you sometimes.

Then today, my daughter was in WalMart and she ran into one of my cousins on Mom's side. He was asking about us and asked her if Dad could have company She said. "Sure, why?" He said, "Well, Uncle (blank) said he came down there twice and Lisa wouldn't let him in."

I was livid. I sent him an email this afternoon to explain to him that Dad is not under guard or in solitary confinement. That the two times his uncle decided to grace us with his presence, it was (hello) unannounced--surprise! And Dad wasn't out of bed those days. And he was right, I didn't let him in. I told Gary all I need is a heads up and we're fine, and he seemed to understand.

The thing is this: I've just turned 50 and you would think (you notice I said think) that by now my family would realize that I am not my mother. Mom was a very social person. She always welcomed everyone in her home no matter what. Surprises, planned visits, whatever. She loved them all. Of course, she was so put together and organized, the house was always immaculate, she looked great and Dad, well, he walked the chalk line with Mom. Most days I'm in my pjs, my sink usually has dishes, there's always laundry to be folded, but caregiving comes first as it should. If the shoe was on the other foot, it makes me wonder how many of them would readily want "surprise" visits. Hmmmmm....

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I totally get this. \r\n\r\nLast week, my dad and I settled into a quiet evening after a long day at the hospital. He laid on the couch with his feet propped up on a pillow, I was getting a few things done before heading into our evening chat.\r\n\r\nThen, ding dong!\r\n\r\nMy cousin and her husband, visiting from Scotland, thought they'd stop by to see how my mom (and dad) are doing. I invited them and then went to get my dad, whose response was exactly the same as your dad.\r\n\r\nThey stayed for an hour and we enjoyed their visit but I was sooooo tired after they left. I do kinda wish I had shut off the lights like I do on Halloween when we've run out of candy. :)


Bless your heart, Lisa, that you know who you are and what is important. You are still the one there every day for your dad, day in and day out. Ricky Nelson had it right: \"You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself\". Rock On, Girlfriend.


Oh. My. Word. You must have the patience of a saint for not greeting them with the same words your dad used. lol I would have lost my mind.

Lillie Fuller

I hate drop ins! Like you, I am usually in PJs and there is always a small mess in the living room, where guests would come into. It's so easy to call or text even to make sure it's okay to drop in!


I hate the \"pop-in\" -- the bane of the caregiver's existence! My mother-in-law is notorious for them. I was brought up to think the \"pop-in\" is rude and I would never inflict one on someone else, regardless of their situation. Open houses are for realtors, not caregivers lol :)

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