The Littlest Kindness
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Old people and kids are like Scotch and soda: a solid pairing. Old dementia people and kids are like fortified wine and a lovely church stoop to sleep it off on: the perfect combination. But as of late The Other Girl and The Other Other Girl have been the recipients of some rather awkward moments involving children, Mom, and of all places, grocery stores.
A couple of months ago our local Trader Joe's was ground zero for an unintentional racist overture from Mom. While Mom and the baby boy were unfazed, MotherMinder's attempts to mitigate the damage with the child's begetter begot her nothing but trouble.
A few weeks later, The Other Girl had to rescue a little lass's donut from Mom's clutches after our materfamilias had plucked it from her grasp in the Safeway bakery department.
Sorry, kid, but that's what you get when you hold out a donut for all the dementia world to see.
But before you succumb to the obvious conclusion - that our mother is now a big, fat, dementia bully - MotherMinder was recently witness to an encounter that was so sweet it brought tears to her eyes.
MM saw Mom lock both dementia barrels onto a little girl pushing her customer-in-training cart through the grocery aisle, but was powerless to impede Mom's laser focus, 1-mile-an-hour shuffle to the child's head, which Mom immediately began petting.
MotherMinder quickly scanned the shopping carts in fear of a protective parent about to give Mom the what-for. Instead she saw a woman patiently watching the scene play out. MM introduced herself, confirmed that it was indeed the lady's daughter, and asked if Mom's caresses were okay as she had dementia and meant no harm. The woman smiled. They too were a dementia household, currently caring for the child's grandma in their home.
"Just watch" she said, pointing MM's attention back to the girl and Mom.
The little girl took Mom's hand. "Hi. I'm Marley. What's your name?" she asked. Mom remained mute, beaming a trust and simple love down on the curly locks (a look we rarely see anymore). MotherMinder stepped in to provide Mom's name.
"Hi Gloria. How was your day? I had a good day at school." Marley informed Mom, all the while keeping her tiny grasp wrapped around Mom's. MM let Marley know that she and Mom were happy her school day was grand.
A huge smile spread over Marley's face. Mom countered with her own. The two only had eyes for each other - Mom captivated, Marley trusting and open.
"I have to go now, Gloria." Marley said simply. Their hands slid apart, breaking the physical bond while maintaining the happy glow in their faces.
MM felt tears of joy and gratitude well up inside her for this Littlest Kindness, who had just unknowingly bestowed on Mom a temporary cure for dementia.
"It's difficult at times, isn't it?" MM remarked to the mother. "Yes," she replied, "but there are good days."
"Like this." MM answered. "Like this."