I had a mother and her preschooler as houseguests a while back. She was preparing for departure for a long ride home and gathering some snacks. I offered her a couple of Rubbermaid flip-up straw sippy cups for him to make travel easier.
Today as I filled my Tervis cup with ice water I thought how like that preschooler I am….. He thought the sippy cups were cool to drink out of in the car. But really they were for mom’s peace of mind in keeping him hydrated and pacifying him in route without having his drink spilled all over him and the car. It’s as much for her and his need for safety while traveling and keeping clean in the process.
Three times this week I’ve spilled part or all of glasses of liquid, once in the car, twice in the house. I’m to the point that it’s clear to me that it is safer and cleaner to just drink only water in a lidded Tervis all the time now. If I drop it, it won’t spill much and what does spill will do less damage.
I think there’s some other lessons in there, too. Like why old folks are more patient with little ones…. We have gotten to the age and degree of coordination regression that we have rediscovered our own “childhood” and reconnect with and understand their world.
The difference between childhood and old age is that they don’t yet understand all the subtleties of underlying motives and serendipitous benefits for himself and mom. When we’re old and making such choices it’s because we KNOW the consequences and advantages of why we’re making the choices we make, at least one would hope so.
I have to ease into a hard conversation with an elderly lady. She’s not going to be happy with what I have to tell her. It’s going to bring home to her the truth of her increasingly frail physical health. She’s going to recognize further her dependence and vulnerability on me and others. Some things are hard to accept when we know the truth but would rather live in denial. Being “as a little child”, completely trusting in the goodwill of those who love and care for us and with no “pride of life” that keeps us from accepting the help we deny that we need can be hard for independent and accomplished older adults. Instead of being “as a child” there can be a tendency to react like an impetuous brat….. “Don’t tell me what to do!”