Meet Them Where They Are

Yesterday I had two people ask me how I am able to interact so easily with the residents at the Care Center where my mother lives.  At the time I was asked the question I simply said “I don’t know why, but for some reason it just comes easy to me”.  However, as I thought more about it last night, I came to see that what I’m doing with the residents at the Care Center is meeting them where THEY are, not where I expect them to be or even where I want them to be.  I don’t have any expectations of any of the residents because I have no history with them. I don’t know what they could or couldn’t do in the past, I just know what I see today. I’m not there to make them better, help them walk, play games with them or talk about days gone by. I’m simply there with them. I don’t know anything more than what I see each time I visit with them so I start interacting with them just as they are, just where they are.

On the other hand, I do know for a fact, that it is easier if you don’t know or have a history with the resident. I know this because while I do love my mother, I sometimes find it more difficult to interact with her than with the other residents. Why? Because we do have a history filled with good, bad, happy and sad times, frustrations, hurts and disappointments…My mother still has expectations of me in regards to meeting her needs, and I have expectations of my mother which make it more difficult for me to always remember I need to meet her where she is without any expectations.

Here is just one of many examples I can give: I believe with all my heart that my mother quit walking long before she couldn’t walk. That in turn, lead to me having to put her in the Care Center when I could no longer get her in and out of the shower etc., which in turn put a strain on the family as not all family members agreed with my decision…it’s things like this that make it difficult for me to always remember to meet my mother where she is and not where I expect her to be. I try, I really do and all I can say it if you’ve never been in that position with a loved one, it’s better to not judge because no one knows until you’ve been there and done that what it’s like…

I try to practice things I learned when my daughter, Shantel, lost her sight at two years old. I learned very quickly not to have expectations. I had to learn to “meet her where she was” everyday, and celebrate each of her accomplishments as they came. I learned to just be with her and love her through the many trails and errors that were made along the way on both our parts. I try to remember that with my mother, who I love, but who isn’t a child like Shantel was when I was learning how to not have expectations… Shantel was and is perfect just the way she is to me. She didn’t have to do anything to impress me and I didn’t have to do anything to impress her. I learned not to compare her to other children and what they could or would be doing at any given time. I also learned I had to help her not compare herself to others. Shantel didn’t learn to tie her shoes or hook a necklace around her neck until she was in middle school and that was just fine with me. We never pushed her but would sit patiently with her for hours when she said she wanted to try to tie her shoes or put her own necklace on.  Eventually she learned how to do both but if she hadn’t I would have just kept buying her shoes with velcro and keep helping her with her necklaces because what was more important to me was that she knew she was loved unconditionally no matter what she could or couldn’t do. I try to convey that message to my mother every time I visit her and I try not to have expectations that I know my mother can’t meet. I guess that’s all any of us can do.

Stay Tuned!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 00:16:06

    I know since your Mom has come to live with us that you have done your best taking care of her,and when she went into the care center you made the correct decisions. Sometimes the decisions you made were tough and you anguished over alot of them, but in the end you did the right thing and I am very proud of you for it.

    Love Your Bill

    Reply

  2. Gotham Girl
    Dec 06, 2012 @ 15:12:58

    Beautiful post! I agree with my bro….you absolutely did the right thing…and we are all so proud of you! xoxo MORE!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Wheeling It: Tales From a Nomadic Life

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

%d bloggers like this: