Filed away in the “Random Factoid” section of my brain is the knowledge that ancient weavers would purposely include an imperfection in their masterpieces. They believed only God could create perfection, not humankind.
I have always thought this was a unique perspective. And a viewpoint I have recently decided to embrace.
No one is perfect. I know I am not. And accepting this as fact can be enlightening. Especially as a caregiver of an elderly parent. Because we are human. We have our emotional highs and lows. We have our limitations. And it’s okay if we do not always respond as perfectly as we think we should to a certain stimulus.
It’s okay to fail sometimes. It’s okay to react emotionally and not logically. It’s okay to get mad or be sad.
It’s not okay to beat ourselves up about it. It’s not okay play the “Woe Is Me” game in the mirror for hours at a time. It’s not okay to give up and throw in the proverbial towel.
When my mother’s dementia forces her brain into a repetitious-thought-loop, asking the same series of questions over and over and over again, I usually respond calmly and with patience. I have discovered I can often break her thought pattern by changing the subject mid-loop. Not always, but most times.
However, there are those moments when I do not react calmly and with patience. And instead, have the exact opposite response. I lose my patience. I lose my sense of calm. I lose my cool.
I get frustrated. I get angry. And I speak with a sharp tongue. And each time, afterwards I play the “Why Didn’t I Just Keep My Mouth Shut” game.
But then I had my epiphany. I discovered my frustration and anger was spurred by her frustration and anger. Because sometimes she works herself up over an issue that would not have been an issue at all ten years ago. But now, it is. And when I see her upset and confused and disoriented, all I want to do is help her. Solve her problem. Make it all better for her.
Because that is what she has always done for me. With warm ginger ale when I was five years old and had an upset stomach. With a soft hug when I was 12 years old and was told we were moving once again to another state, away from my best gal pals. And with a glowing smile when I was a young adult and learned I was accepted into art school.
My mother has been there for me during the good and bad in my early years of life. And I like to think I am here for her now, during the good and bad at this stage in her life. Because in the end, it is all about encouragement. And forgiveness. And the giving of yourself.
It has never been about perfection.