Today, I feel ancient. Like by the time I wake up tomorrow every hair on my head is going to be white. Or gone. And suddenly I'll be a bald, old maid with shriveled up hands and age spots and crevasses in my face.
It's not the greatest feeling.
I think it comes from being here with my mother. She has Alzheimer's. And although she's doing well on the whole, there are little things-- things repeated, things forgotten, minor confusions. And I'm left feeling useless and ineffectual, trying to come up with solutions to the unsolvable.
Me: Why don't we get you a scrapbook, so when you see an article you want to clip in the paper, you can just clip it and put it right in the scrapbook, and you won't have this big stack of newspapers?
Mom: Oh, I'm not ready for all that.
Me: It's not "all that." It's a scrapbook. Then you know what you wanted to save.
Mom: (not on board) Okay.
So we go to Target and we get a scrapbook, and we bring it home, and I say:
Me: There's a newspaper on the stairs right now. Instead of taking it upstairs and putting it on the pile to organize later, why don't you cut out the article you wanted to save and put it in the scrapbook?
(Yes, I can be overbearing like that. I get it from my mother.)
So she spends two hours looking through the newspaper she's already read, trying to figure out what article she wanted to save two days ago when she read it for the first time. As far as I know, she never figured it out. As far as I know, the whole paper was new again.
When she gets up to go to the bathroom, my step-dad says:
Step-dad: This scrapbook idea is going to fail. You know that right?
And I really wanted to disagree. I really wanted to say, no, this scrapbook is going to make EVERYTHING BETTER! This scrapbook is going to put EVERYTHING BACK IN LINE. This scrapbook is THE ANSWER!
DON"T YOU SEE??? IT'S A SCRAPBOOK!!!!!
But he's right. The scrapbook idea is going to fail. It's $30 wasted on something that will help no one. It won't make my mother more organized. It won't make her remember why a certain article in the paper had meaning to her two days ago. Or ten minutes ago. It won't make her brain better.
It won't make anything better. It's just something that made me feel like I had an iota of control over an utterly uncontrollable situation, when in reality it's just one more thing-- best case scenario, filled with articles on restaurant openings and school ballots and other passing ephemera-- that I'm going to cry over someday, then sort into trash and recycle.
One more symbol of my mother, slowly disappearing.