The haircut

So, Mom did finally get her haircut on Saturday. I was full of anticipation, wanting to get the whole thing behind me. I’m sad that I felt that way. It’s no good for me to be full of dread, and I hope my general anxiety about spending a long period of time with Mom on an outing doesn’t somehow affect my behavior when I’m with her. But really, it probably does.

We started with lunch at Bob Evans. My husband joined us for this, thankfully. I asked him to, just to add some variety to the day. I also know Mom enjoys him. And I just wanted his company. He got the table while I went to pick up Mom. She was sitting in the lobby with several other ladies. I noticed she had the same clothes on that she had been wearing Friday, including the pants she changed into while I was visiting her to supply her with disposable underwear. I imagined she had slept in that outfit, shoes included. I’m not sure what actually prompts her to decide to change clothes these days. She also had on a red fleece jacket, so she knew she was going to be going out. I had forgotten to call her ahead of time, but this event was planted in her mind strongly enough that she seemed to have remembered it was coming up. We headed for Bob Evans, and Mom started talking some nonsense – nonsense to me, anyway – about whether she had done something wrong. I think it related to her conversation in the lobby. I tried to redirect her and asked if she was hungry. She seemed to enjoy the sunshine.

At Bob Evans, we all had some comfort food – Mom had her usual pot roast hash, I had chicken and noodles, and my husband had a breakfast skillet. My husband had ordered some onion rings before we arrived just to tide us over with a little appetizer. Mom tried to eat one, but it was hot, so she spit it out onto the table. She had a plate in front of her, but she made a point of keeping it on the table while it cooled. She eventually ate the fried part of the onion ring, and later, the onion. I don’t know if she liked it, but she ate one more. She ate most of her pot roast hash, but talked about feeling full about halfway through. She picked through most of it, but left some on her plate. When the server asked if we wanted dessert – offering a sales pitch about various pies – we all declined, saying we were full. Mom has a sweet tooth, though, and I asked her if she wanted ice cream. “Oh, yes,” she said. We ordered her a chocolate sundae. While we were waiting, she said, “I think I have to poop.” I was pointing out where the restroom was, but my husband urged me to go with her. Of course, I had to go with her, and I was ashamed to realize that I was resisting. I walked her to the door and waited outside. When another woman emerged, I then went in to see how Mom was doing. It’s a good thing I joined her, as she did not flush the toilet. I suggested she wash her hands while I went to her stall and flushed for her. I washed my hands, too. We went back to the table, the sundae arrived, and Mom dug in. She still eats fairly normally, but she’s a little sloppy. She got lots of ice cream on her mouth and didn’t immediately clean it off with a napkin, but eventually did. She ate most of it but finally gave in to being full. On our way out, I noticed Mom has stopped shopping in the little gift area of Bob Evans for a toy for the cat. They don’t carry cat toys, but she used to always look there for a possible goodie to take home with her.

We separated from my husband and were on our way. We had lots of time so we stopped at a little market to buy some almonds for Mom. We were about 10 minutes early for the haircut. I later learned that my stylist had called my cell and home phones to remind me of this appointment. Little did she know it had been burned into my brain since the day we scheduled it. My stylist talked gently to Mom while she washed her hair, and I encouraged Mom to relax and enjoy the feeling of the little head massage and the thorough cleaning. My stylist was rapid with the cut, finishing in about 15 minutes. Mom’s hair had been such a mess – it’s thinning, and it has become more curly with age, and she doesn’t groom, so it has looked messy for months. The cut was darling, and she has lots of curl in the back and even if she just gets up out of bed and doesn’t do a thing, it will probably be cute. Mom had to take off her glasses for the cut, and by the time it was finished, I think she forgot about them. The stylist was asking what she thought, and Mom looked bewildered, probably because she couldn’t really see herself. Even after I put her glasses on her, she never really did comment on the hair much – she touched it a little and said it was fine. I wonder if she forgot what it used to look like.

On the way home, we were just chatting about how we were both tired and ready to nap (true for me, for sure). Then Mom said, “You know what I would really like?” And I just wasn’t sure…but I said, “What?” And she said, “A Coca-Cola.” She’s funny about her Coke. She has a fridge full of it, but apparently doesn’t remember that anymore. She has always enjoyed pop. I told her she had a bunch in her refrigerator, and she said, “Really?” And I was going to just wait till we got back to her place to give her the Coke, but I thought, why am I denying her this small thing? A White Castle was right on our way, so we used the drive-thru to get Mom a Coke. It has probably been a long time since she had a Coke on ice with a straw, and I think she really liked it.

As we walked into the facility, I asked her if she had had a nice time, and she said yes. She thought the stylist was so nice. The funny thing is, about 12 years ago, Mom had gone to this very same stylist, and didn’t care much for her personality. I actually found her through Mom. Mom went to her only twice, I think, before they parted ways, mutually agreeing they probably weren’t suited for each other. I have been with her ever since. And I am thinking that I ought to take Mom to her more frequently. I don’t like seeing Mom with crazy hair, and yet it took me a long time to do anything about it. The thing is, I wasted a lot of energy dreading this three-hour commitment. Mom is confused, can’t carry on much of a conversation, acts a little funny sometimes, but she still gets pleasure from a little drive, a little meal, a little social time with a new, friendly stranger and, presumably, a little time with me. As long as she can experience that pleasure, I need to remember that she is relying on me to make these little things possible.

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