“Dinner will be in another hour or so,” my sister Diane greets us as we walk in the door.
“Oh! Are we early?” I ask, checking my watch. I’m the drum major, leading the parade into her kitchen.
Diane faces me, smiling. Ginger Rogers-style, I take three steps backward, out of the conversation circle. Diane is Fred Astaire, stepping forward in time with me.
Diane whispers through her smile. “At some point today, Mom turned the oven off, with the turkey roasting in it. We think it was around noon.” Diane smiles and shrugs lightheartedly. “She was helping.”
I smile nervously and give Diane a hug.
“Our best guess is that an extra hour is enough to thoroughly roast the turkey,” she continues. “We just need to be flexible on the actual dinnertime, OK?” I marvel again at my sister’s calm.
I step into the living room to find Mom sulking, having been asked to excuse herself from the dinner preparation. Dad is pacing back and forth, brow furrowed. I take a deep breath.
“Looks like we have time for a game before dinner!” I say with enthusiasm. “What’s it going to be?”
Since our lives are simple compared to what each day as a Caregiver asks of our Dad, my sister and I were able to take a breath, chose a calm response, and flavor our response to this twist with humor. What we found is that this approach opened up possibilities for us to love-each-other-through-it-all.
Think about it. You could give your Caregiver a precious gift by reminding them that a response like this is available for them to use too. One good demonstration from you could be enough to show your Caregiver how they might approach some of the surprises that come their way each day.
Your Friend on the Journey,