Sorry, Mom, not feeling it this year

Maybe I’m tired. Maybe it was the weather. But I just couldn’t muster the energy this year to give a flying fig about Mother’s Day.

I planned a picnic. Mom likes the lake so I found a park to go to. I planned the menu. I checked the weather. Ninety per cent chance of rain.

I looked for a movie to go to. Couldn’t find anything she would want to see.

We’re expecting several nights with frost this week so we couldn’t go get the hanging baskets of flowers I usually get her each year.

That was enough. That was all I had energy for. Fuck Mother’s Day.

But isn’t every day Mother’s Day when you take care of your mother all day every day? I cook, I clean, I wait on her hand and foot, making sure she is happy and has everything she wants and needs. I don’t need a special day to tell me to do these things for her. I do them every god damned day.

I’m not complaining. I’m lucky. I have a mother that is well enough that I don’t have to change her diapers. I don’t have to give her showers. She sleeps at night. She’s not combative or abusive. She doesn’t accuse me of stealing and she doesn’t tell everyone that I neglect and abuse her when in fact it’s just the opposite. I have a kind, generous, healthy, loving, gentle mother that acknowledges that I help her and that without me she’d be in a nursing home. So many caregivers have it so much worse than I do.

Maybe I’m tired. Maybe it’s the weather. Not feeling Mother’s Day this year.

In other news…

The most recent issue has been food.

I’ve been trying to feed her the MIND diet. Lots of dark leafy greens, berries, very little meat, chicken, a vegetarian meal when I can trick her into eating one. She doesn’t like any of it. I fed her a soup this week that I thought she liked. Turns out she doesn’t. She never told me. I made a salad of things she likes– apples, chickpeas, walnuts, celery, grapes– didn’t like the salad. Or the salad dressing, which was mostly yogurt and honey, both of which she likes.

I hate that she doesn’t like her food. She’s lost much of her senses of taste and smell so I know food isn’t as appealing as it once was, and she’s been a picky eater her entire life. But feeding her is hard. I want her to have nutritious food but I also want her to be happy. Believe it or not, those things are mutually exclusive.

I posed the question of what to do to the online support group. I got a range of answers with “find a balance” being the most popular response. As in, feed her healthy food but also don’t deny her the things she likes.

I guess I knew this. I mean, I have been trying to give her the foods she likes so long as they in the nutritious end of the spectrum. As in, tomato soup but with a peanut butter sandwich rather than a grilled cheese. Broccoli, but topped with a bit of shredded cheese. I put spinach in soups then blitz them with my stick blender so she can’t even tell the spinach is in there.

One person commented that at this stage, her diet isn’t going to be what kills her. She has a terminal illness. She has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes as well. She’s 86 years old. She could live another 20 years and she could drop dead tomorrow. So what if she doesn’t have a healthy diet at this late date? Is feeding her rabbit food going to prolong her life or make what life she has left miserable? Is feeding her tomato soup and grilled cheese, chicken, and ice cream the worst thing in the world when her body and brain are deteriorating from a lifetime of eating the typical Western diet?

I’ve come to the conclusion that she needs to eat, needs nutrition, and needs to enjoy her food, even if that means tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch, chicken and vegetables for dinner, and ice cream for dessert every single day. It’s what she likes, it’s what she will eat, and it’s what is going to keep her alive in between the protein shakes I will also insist she have. There will come a day when she won’t be able to eat. If she is fortunate enough to live so long, eventually she will become unable to swallow. She will refuse liquids. She won’t even take ice chips. Eventually all this angst over feeding her will be a laughable memory and I will feel stupid for being so worried about it.

As for me, the caregiver, I’m going to have to feed myself. I need to stay alive long enough to see her through to her last breath. That could be twenty years. That could be less than a minute. So I will eat the MIND diet. I will manage my high blood pressure, my high cholesterol, my diabetes. I will eat rabbit food until she dies so that I can be here for her remaining days. But then watch out! lol

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