I can think of many times during the period when I was taking care of my parents and needed to speak out much more than is my nature. Whether it was informing the housing director that Dad needed more care after an emergency room visit or clearing up issues about my mom with the beauty salon or reminding a certified nurse assistant to check on a new prescription for my dad, I knew I had to be the one to intercede. Certainly my parents wouldn’t! I had to stand my ground with my parents too. Once I took my father shopping for a birthday present for his great-grandson. Dad, age 95 and ¾ had just begun walking with the assistance of a cane and his gait was very slow. We arrived at a Target superstore and I pulled out a cart so that Dad could ride rather than walk. “I am not going to get in this cart,” he said defiantly. “Oh yes you are,” I said equally defiantly. He had already resisted manning a cart at the grocery store during an earlier incident. Several verbal exchanges between us occurred. Finally he gave in when I offered my last plea. “It’s just like a golf cart.” At that point he knew he had lost and reluctantly he got into the cart and, after a few simple instructions from me, he was off and running. I had to quicken my pace to keep up and direct him to the toy section several aisles down. He had a big smile on his face and displayed a sense of power in his demeanor as he gripped the steering wheel, and pushed the pedal. I think the whole experience reminded him of driving the car he had only given up operating a few months prior. We arrived at our destination where he happily and deliberately chose a shiny red Hot Wheels car, proceeded to the card aisle and selected the only great-grandson birthday card on the stand. With great satisfaction we checked out. Dad got out of the cart and resumed walking with his cane and we headed home. I was proud of myself for standing my ground. I think Dad was happy too.
Mimi Pockross Biography
Mimi Pockross has been a freelance writer for more than thirty-five years. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. She has published many articles on the arts, education and family and is the author of two books. Her latest book is The Takeover: An Unexpected Caregiver’s Story in which she writes about becoming the primary caregiver for her elderly parents. The mother of two sons and the grandmother of two boys, Mimi lives in Denver and Vail, Colorado with her husband of forty-nine years. She is also the author of Shopping for a Living: A Memoir on Merging Marriage, Motherhood and Merchandising.
The content of this article and the opinions expressed are solely those of Mimi Pockross and do not necessarily reflect those of AARP or any of its affiliates.