“I don’t know where my glasses are,” Mom tells me. I bite my lip; she’s been misplacing things all day. We are supposed to be spending a day drawing and painting, trying to connect mom with the artist she used to be. We are supposed to bake cookies together and look through magazines. But I’ve been spending much of the time crawling around, looking under the sofa and chairs and between the cushions for the disappearing glasses.
“Let’s make our cookies. You won’t need your glasses for that,” I say.
“I need my glasses.”
As I search, I wonder when it became a drudgery instead of a joy to find things. One of my favorite childhood games was Hide ‘N Seek. I loved being the Seeker, loved the surprise of finding someone in a tucked away, mysterious place. I had a special trick I used when I was “It.” I would close my eyes and say, “If I were Dan, where would I hide?” Then an image floated into my mind and I’d race to the hiding place. Half the time, I was right.
Do I still have “it?” I close my eyes and think, “If I were Mom’s glasses, where would I be?” The refrigerator comes to my mind. I rush into the kitchen and fling open the refrigerator door, only to see the usual chaos. But I’m hungry, so I reach for an apple. Behind the fruit is a pair of reading glasses, sprawled across the shelf.
Triumphantly, I take the glasses to Mom.
“These feel nice,” she says.
Not only has my mother reminded me of the importance of creativity, curiosity and play, but she also discovered a great summer time tip: chill your glasses and cool off your face.
Deborah Shouse is the author of Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together and Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.