You know when we're kids and our parents know everything? We wake up to the fact they don't, say about age 11. What about when dear old dad never wakes up to the fact he doesn't?
I rallied my first conscious thoughts this morning to step into that mind of his and walk around a little. Of course this is all hypothetical, but if the profilers on detective TV shows can do it, maybe I can too.
Dear old dad is resisting a temporary move - temporary!!! - into a respite care facility while his live-in caregiver, his son, attends his own son's wedding in California. We're all going, that is, everyone except Dad. He doesn't want to go. He doesn't want his son to go, either. Considering Dad will have no live-in caregiver during our absence, that is, live-in caregiver he can't fire, we're giving him the choice between two really nice assisted living homes, one 20 years old, the other 150 years old, give or take a decade.
Sound good? You know his answer. I'm fine. I can take care of himself. Uh, huh. We're well past the option of making him believe the nice short term stay is his grand idea. His trust in our love and motives is just about shot. Besides, we're his children. Parents always know more than their children. So he flip flops. We've got our team slowly circling, all shepherding him into Place A or Place B, not Place C - home. Eldercare services, his lawyer, his doctor, his financial manager, is eldest daughter, his youngest - me, another daughter, his son, his daughter-in-law, all of us. The fact is, he cannot be trusted by himself in his own home. Yet we very much want to stop short of forcing him to take this vacation.
So this morning I took my hypothetical walk through his mind to understand him. Dad knows himself to be a repair man. Only he hasn't successfully repaired anything by himself in years. Don't tell him that. He is repairman extraordinaire. Truth is, the eyesight, the coordination, the strength, the keenness of mind isn't there. But he won't talk and he won't listen. He blames the hot water for being too hot, when he could simply turn on the cold water tap and mix the two. He ditches his walker the minute he's alone to climb the stairs to take a shower. He falls sometimes, typically doing just that. He 'repairs' his catheter's attachments because all of them are poorly designed, and regularly spills urine on his bed. He tried to repair the refrigerator by flipping it over. He tried to repair a broken dial on the electric stove without turning the electricity off.
Goodness, I'm way past my 15 minute time limit for posting, going on an hour. (I've been doing that a LOT lately.)
To conclude... I've been thinking lately about the Fixed mindset and Growth mindset. This morning I applied them to his situation. Fixed mindset, when we know ourselves as an unalterable blueprint, wonderful, wretched, whatever. Growth mindset, when we know ourselves to be potter's clay and we the potter, with input, of course. We and we alone get to transform ourselves into the next grander version of ourselves. That's fine, but what about when the next version of ourselves cannot possibly be grander? This is where my little walk through my Father's mind leaves me. My Dad is lost in his grand version of himself.
And who are you this fine day?