I am sure there are a variety of media folks trying to get a clear handle on the reasons for the continued success of the movie “The Blind Side.”  We saw it today.  It is the true story of an essentially homeless teenager, accepted into a family, finding his way to success on the football field.  Thematically, it seems to me like the story of Susan Boyle who has become a metaphor for a nobody being discovered to be a somebody.  It touches the longings in most of us to find fulfillment, to come into our own in a way that is clearly visible to others and, more importantly, to ourselves. I suppose it is the same reason that “The Man from Snowy River” has always struck a chord in me every one of the fifteen or so times I watched it in former years.

I am not really sure how Mary Ann felt about it.  Her comment at the end was, “Did we end up in the wrong movie again?”  The last time we went to a movie, she had gotten in her mind that there was another one we were going to see.  When I asked her what movie she thought we were going to, she referred to an interview this morning on the television with Robert DeNiro about a movie he is in.  I did not see that interview.  In both cases, I had only talked about going to the movie we saw, and had not at any point mentioned the other.  At best, communication is a difficult thing.  Since Mary Ann is not verbal, it is hard to know what she is thinking.  I talk enough that she needs to tune it out.  As a result, I can say one thing, and she can have something completely different in her mind.  It is hard to know how many of the miscues are simple communication problems and how many are precipitated by the dementia that has begun to show its face on occasion.

On another note, there is a dilemma emerging that impacts my role as a Caregiver.  In a matter of about 48 hours, I received three overtures that would ultimately involve commitments of time.  Committing time to something other than caring for Mary Ann is no small matter.  I have seen just how stressful it is to have time pressure enter the picture when Mary Ann’s needs come without warning, often demanding immediate attention.  I can’t count the times I have had to get off the phone or at least excuse myself for a moment, when Mary Ann popped up and headed toward the bathroom.

It became clear very soon after I retired, that I could not count on being able to keep commitments if I made them.  Every commitment had to have an easy way out, in case Mary Ann’s situation demanded my attention.   Even tasks that don’t have appointments to keep pretty tough to accomplish, since the tasks that come with the caregiving role, make it tough to get a long enough block of time free to concentrate on anything else.  Those who volunteer to spend time with Mary Ann have busy lives of their own.  There are not a large number available to cover multiple times for meetings or whatever.  The cost of using paid Companion Care from the Agency we sometimes use prohibits making many commitments.

If I add commitments that use up all the time covered with Volunteers, I may as well go back to work.  One reason I retired was that it was too hard to move between working and caregiving wtihout time for rest and renewal.

With all that said, there must be something else going on in my thinking, something of which I am not fully aware that has caused me not to immediately decline the overtures.  I have accepted one.  It allows a great deal of flexibility and is likely to be very satisfying.  It is simply providing a sounding board for a friend from a former time.  While I may decline the other overtures, I am actually considering them.  I know too little about them yet to actually make a decision.

I suspect that part of the reason I have not dismissed the overtures out of hand, is my need to feel useful outside of my caregiving duties.  It is challenging to realign my thinking and feeling to be able to feel fulfilled and valuable without external validation.  At a spiritual and intellectual level, I can find fulfillment without affirmation.  My insides, however, are not so mature and selfless. At the very least, it is nice to have been asked.

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