Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Forget About the the Puppies!

"I don't care what happens to the puppies!  I'm going home!"

I was relaxing on the sofa.  Mother was in her chair.  We were watching the cutest movie...102 Dalmatians.  All was well with the world.

Then it happened.

She abruptly got up out of her chair.  “I need to go home and take a bath.”

(Huh???)  “Look Mother, this is a dog movie! You love little puppies! Do you think the little puppies will be rescued?”

“I don’t know",  she mumbled (apathetically shrugging).

She was way too focused on going home to worry about what catastrophe might befall a bunch of puppies.  I sensed a "broken record" coming on.

“I need to go home and take a bath RIGHT NOW!!!”

“Mother, look at me!  You had a shower this morning!  You don’t need to take a bath!"  I'm now yelling to her in the other room...."Come back in and watch this movie!!!!  You’ll like all the little puppies!!" (Also, it’s almost over....and I would like to see the end if you don't mind.)

Things got quiet, so I presumed she was off the broken record.  I could hear her opening drawers, but it didn’t concern me.  She was probably paying her "imaginary bills".  (Don’t you wish bills were imaginary?)  Years ago, she was the finance manager for my Dad’s business and our family. When she came to live with me, I found her a small desk with some shelves on top.  In an effort to occupy her time, I gathered some old bills and had her start "paying" them.  She has spent MANY hours looking at old bills and writing imaginary checks. She still has her old ledger from when she managed my Dad’s business. I went to GREAT lengths to make everything as legitimate as possible.

By now, the movie had reached a critical point.  The puppies were in jeopardy!  Would they escape?  I couldn't turn it off now!   I decided to ignore the drawer noises and watch the end-only 10 minutes left!!

Right when I was about to find out how the adorable puppies would escape from the evil villain, Mother appeared...and stepped right in front of the television!  It's hard to describe what I saw.  She was standing in front of me dressed in long johns and an under shirt (think 90 year old super hero).  Her little skinny legs were standing firm. All she needed was a cape and an M on her shirt.  She was holding a blanket, (she referred to as her towel), a shirt to change in to, a bar of soap, and a few other things she thought she might need (like her Bible) rubber ducky.  It was a Kodak moment!  I tried to conceal my laughter, but tears were coming in my eyes.   

“This is NOT funny!  I need to go home and take a bath....RIGHT NOW!"

“I’m just laughing at the movie. Why don’t you sit down and watch it with me?”

“I SAID....I’m going home to take a bath!  If you’re not coming with me, I’ll just go by myself!!!”

Now that WOULD have been a Kodak moment (for the neighbors, that is).

This was one of those "broken records".  When it happens, I’ve noticed she gets anxious and she has a lot of energy.  She is usually so fragile..... until she gets focused on something. Then, it’s like she becomes a little super hero.  She forgets about her physical limitations. Years ago, my Dad used to say, “It’s all in your head".  What he meant was a person's thinking can change their direction.  I’ve thought about his words for years, and he was right. The Bible tells us, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7  

Well it was definitely "in her head" to go home (once again).  She was standing at the front door.  The bells on the doorknob were going off like crazy.  There was no changing her mind.  She meant to leave. 

I gathered her stuff, helped her put on her housecoat, and sat her in the wheelchair.  We started "looking" for her house so she could take a bath.  We went up the street and down the street, then back up the street.  I was actually enjoying the walk.  Most of my neighbors were inside because it was still a little too hot to walk.  We did see one couple.  Mother called out to them to help us.  But thank goodness they didn’t speak English.  They couldn’t understand what she was talking about.  I wanted to say, “Don’t feel bad. I speak English and I can’t understand what she’s talking about either." 

As we passed by our house for the third time she exclaimed, “I think that’s my house!" 

“Praise God!”  I thought. I pushed her up the driveway and said, “Mother, let’s sit on the porch before you have a bath and enjoy the evening.”


Then she began to tell me how easy it is to find her house. 

“Anybody with any BRAINS would know how to find it! It’s the only house with three tall green things in the front yard.”

"Three tall green things?"  I asked (filled with curiosity..).

“The three tall green things right over there!” 

“Those?” (I pointed.)

“Yes!!! Those!!”

She was pointing directly at the Bell South distribution panels for underground cable connections (every third house on the street has this).  I’m certainly learning a lot about what makes our house "special".

Mother continued…”This is the only house with a little tree in the front yard, two rocking chairs on the front porch, and three tall green things in the front yard."  (By now I’m repeating the words with her.) 

“I’ve got to get you ready for bed (no bath) because tomorrow WE’RE GOING TO GRIFFIN for July 4th to see your son and his wife!”

Mother smiled the biggest smile.

I sometimes wonder how God sees us.  We dress in our "super human" costume and announce all of our fantastic plans.  However, instead of laughing at us, God lovingly walks around the block with us.  He knows exactly where we need to be.  Yet He'll wander around aimlessly with us if that's what it takes to bring us back home.  Is God following you "around the block"?  What are you searching for?   

Let God bring you back home.

God helped Mother to get past her "broken record" once again.  I hope all you caregivers are finding laughter in your journey and not frustration.  Remember what my Dad used to say, “It’s all in your head. Your thinking can change your direction.”

I still don't know what happened to those puppies!  I'm sure they got rescued.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

P.S.  Thanks to everyone for the comments!  Keep 'em coming!!!


  1. Setting her up with a desk and ledger to pay the "bills" is kind of genius. I wish she could come do that job for me!

  2. Great idea on the bills. I gave mom an old checkbook so she could pay the bills. It worked for a while. Mom is passed all this. But you are doing so good. Sometimes I could scream when the broken record was going on. I think I did a few times. She also has super human strength when she wanted something. Than when she did not she could not ever walk or sit up sometimes. Very wierd the way the mind works when it is broken. Take care .

  3. Grace....I'm thrilled and honored you're reading my blog. But I'm not quite sure you'd want her to "pay" any of your bills...unless you just don't care anymore.

    Karen....I laughed and laughed when I read your post. I totally get what you're saying. When they don't want to do something, they can make themselves heavier than lead. SO FUNNY..but totally true.

  4. How precious! And, I've quoted Prov. 23:7 many times in my life. Great truth-