Tomorrow it's my turn to take a special snack to school.  I am planning to bring my blender and make hummus with the preschoolers. I will bring the ingredients, plus Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, baby carrots, jicama and bell pepper strips. The preschoolers will choose their own veggies and crackers for dipping, and choosing is always a big deal. 

I read a funny word, "hummusketeers" in a blog comment. That's when I decided on my special snack. I will go easy on the garlic. Kids will help use the garlic press, measure the liquid reserved from the Reduced Sodium Garbanzos, squeeze lemons, use the strainer, fish the roasted red pepper out of the jar, maybe help with the can-opener, scrape down the blender with spatulas ... Plus we can all dance to the noise of the blender. 

Then we can talk about the Food Pyramid.  The latest nutrition education materials call the pertinent group "Meat and Beans".  That seems to leave out eggs and nuts.  I prefer "Meat and Protein", but that's a bit abstract for young children.  I'm taking my kitchen cat since it was pouting about not being included in the fun. 

M-I-C See you real soon.
K-E-Y why? Because we like you.
H-U-Double M-U-S

In other developments, Dad says he will be twenty-two on tomorrow's birthday. Since he will really be eighty-eight, I wonder what in his head made him divide by four. I'm not sure there is method to his madness, but he does seem to know a hawk from a handsaw when the wind is southerly.
Slowly reading Viki Kind's book, The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making:  Making Choices For Those Who Can't.  This morning the section on "care-grieving" hit home on two levels.  First, I could recognize myself as a poster girl for that telethon.  Second, I could reconsider Dad's experience while Mom was ill in 2004.  How very overwhelmed and exhausted he must have felt!  My parents were both totally compliant with whatever doctors said during that time.  It is a fair turnabout that Dad chooses noncompliance as his default mode these days.

....Care-grieving... "the grief that comes with caring for and caring about another person.  Not only is caregiving exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating and emotionally draining, it is also associated with profound grief."  (Kind, p. 105)

  • Dad isn't the person he used to be.  The person he is now is often unpleasant, and frequently nauseating.
  • Our intense link of father-to-eldest daughter with a shared birthday is gone.
  • The father who nurtured my creativity and curiosity is long gone.
  • Facility staff members keep asking if Dad was always impatient, aggressive, and combative as if I'm supposed to reveal a deep family secret.  I just want to scream at them, "No!  He was judgmental, sarcastic, sometimes belittling and occasionally  intolerant.  He was hopeless at teaching me to throw a ball, but good at teaching me to fish.  He had impeccable table manners.  He was not abusive or violent!"
  • While I don't physically take care of Dad, managing his affairs is time-consuming.  He resents his loss of independence, and I resent this big chunk of my time.  Sometimes his private room can't hold all our frustrations.
  • It's really difficult to make time for self-care and managing my own messy life.
  • Dad is going to die, possibly soon.
  • Dad is not going to die as soon or as easily as either of us might wish, which is not easy to admit.
  • People who aren't in my shoes give me a lot of advice, and sometimes they are coworkers.  Fortunately, people who are in similar shoes commiserate with me, and sometimes they are coworkers.
  • I'm going to die, too.
  • I'm going to die without being able to afford it, so I sure better not linger!
  • The people whose support I most need are far away with busy lives.  I often feel like I'm performing without Annette.

It had been over a year since I saw a movie in a theater.  Danger Baby gave me an AMC movie gift card a few months back.  Today I needed to go sit in a dark suburban mall megaplex theater by myself through all the darn ads and previews to see "The Conspirator".  Since I found Gore Vidal's Lincoln in a library at least thirty years back I've been drawn to novels and nonfiction about Lincoln's assassination from various viewpoints.  Except for Kevin Kline's Edwin Stanton, the performances were persuasive. 

Time now to prepare the dipping veggies, pay bills, and iron.  Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmelites" is in the cd player.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

May the making of hummus soothe you. Thank you for all the honesty about what you are going through. It's like reading stories about Korea my dad puts on his blog: hard to read but so important. Keeping you both in the light.

Kathleen said...

Sending you love and laughing at the lemon ears. I'm so glad to have inspired the hummusketeers and, someday when you are free, we want you to come to our women's retreat and look at bluebells with us. We will be the 4 musketeers. (You've got to mean Jean, Kim's friend! She comes to the retreat from far away.) I will not be able to afford dying either. Sending you more love.

Kathleen said...

*meet Jean. Hard to explain, but I guess I started typing "Jean" while still typing "meet." Jean is not at all mean.


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