ONE uncleaned room.......
...and a partridge in a ko-tatsu. Maybe.....
Can you see it? Probably choking on old-lady smell if there's one in there somewhere...
So. Yes - I haven't blogged in a while, and I haven't much entered Okaasan's room for about 12 days...maybe only to give her a hair-dryer, or haul out a cat.
Passive-aggressive/Benign Neglect/Can't Give a Fuck.
Call it what you will. I decided to give myself a break from the day to day hassle of Okaasan and her world. Gave myself a break in MY world: English teaching, watching TV, cats, looking for cherry blossom and screening a wonderful documentary called HAFU for a total audience of over 100 people on two different screening days at the weekend!
Look! That's me in the green blouse, giving a truely baaad speech in Japanese on the first screening. Nerves got to me totally. Lost it. The carefully crafted, polite phrases (produced with the help of my Japanese teacher) danced in front of my eyes and I couldn't find my place. 2nd day was much better. I even smiled. I think. And remembered to say the same thing in English and Japanese - introductions to the film, encouragement to others to hold community screenings etc.
47 people on Saturday and 63 people on Sunday. Amazing.
Here are details of the film and how to arrange your own screening. I promise you: a wonderful film about identity and community. Who are we? What our passport shows? What our parents were? What others see?
So. Back in my real life. How has it been with my....shall we call it: H.O.O. Approach.
Hands Off Okaasan Approach.
(better than the C. G. F. Approach. see above)
Hands off doing anything really - I just worked and came home and ate dinner. Made a bit of polite chat. Went about my life. Like a Japanese husband calling in on family life really. Without the buddy drinking after work and pachinko-habit.
Dear Son was on his final seasonal-break before starting the summer job of bike taxi driver. So he was home every day and doing all the shopping, cooking and stuff. He's a great little wife.
Okaasan didn't go to day care now for two weeks. DS told her to go and have a bath twice or so a week. He gave her lunch and dinner. Nobody went into her room to clean.
"She's happier, seems more relaxed!" Dear Son says. I can't dispute it, since I have hardly seen her really.
The weather has been much better, and Okaasan has gone out for a walk almost every day. Sometimes downtown alone, but usually round the local shops.
Is she happier not going to day care? Or is it just the season change and the chance to go out more? Don't know.
She seems fine - looks disheveled, hair all over the place - we think she's stopped managing to actually wash her own hair clean...and she kept declining offers to go to a hair salon (too cold now!! but more on THAT topic later).
My break has been great. I've chilled out and enjoyed a minimal-Okaasan contact time. I'm an over-manager I think. Every single time she left the building I jumped into action and went into her room to clean and to wash clothes, fold papers, put away clothes.
I haven't done it.
She is ok. The room is a mess. I hate to think what is inside some of the plastic bags and the smell is bad.
Finally today Okaasan washed a few pairs of pants on her own accord. She has folded up newspapers a little. But I know there is nasty-stuff lurking in there.
I'm going to suggest to Dear Son that we take it in turns to go into her room on Saturdays and clean up. (and I'll give him the 1st Saturday so he can get an idea of why we have to go in there :-))
So. I'm baaaack. :-)
I think I need to chill out. Enjoy my life a bit more and not try to make everything SO perfect for Okaasan. She has a basically safe environment with us. Food, shelter, daily chat and almost daily walks. It's much MUCH more than many elderly get. My anger at her 2 weeks ago was all to do with her quitting day care - and really I felt it best for her and for me to create some distance.
Now I feel calmer about her.
More later on: hair salon.