The inevitable day has come. I have been waiting for this to happen.
In the middle of my volunteer time in my daughter's 2nd grade classroom this morning, I got a phone call from Teresa (mom's new caregiver).
"Your mom left a note on the door," she explained to me, reading the note.
In case you can't read it, mom wrote:
"Girls- Te + Ch" [Teresa and Christina...she can only remember the beginning sounds of their names]
"I am not here so I cant answer door so you should leave I wont be back until later about 11:00 or 11:30. Deana"
Right away I knew it was only a ploy to get Teresa to leave. She doesn't ever leave the house earlier than 10:30 (and if she does it is like pulling out teeth that aren't even loose yet). I knew she was locked away in her room. Teresa asked for the home number and told me she would try to call and see if she'd pick up the phone. I knew there was no chance of that happening, so after giving Teresa the number and hanging up, I texted my dad to see if he could call and get her to open the door. (All of this is happening while I'm trying to read one-on-one with a classmate of Aubrey's, mind you). Dad texted me back a few minutes later to inform me that mom was refusing to answer the door. She had just gotten out of the shower and didn't want anyone there until she was dressed and with her full face of make-up on (which would be about 10:30).
What choice did I have? I gave my apologies to Aubrey's teacher and drove the 5 minutes to my mom's house, where Teresa sat outside, waiting to be let in. Once inside, we went through our usual routine: me, knocking on mom's locked bedroom door as mom stood on the other side quiet as a mouse, unresponsive.
"Mom, I know you're in there. Dad told me he talked to you on the phone, I know you're home. Please answer me."
Finally an answer, "I'm naked. I only just have my pants on, I'm putting on my make-up." Reluctantly, she cracked her door open and warned me that I might see her boobs. I closed my eyes as I let myself in her room, turning my back towards her so as to not see her in the nude.
[On a total tangent, when I was growing up, I was always very shy but in contrast, my mom never cared about my sister or I seeing her naked. When we'd accidentally walk in on her after a shower or something, we would often get embarassed and she'd always say "oh please, I'm your mother".]
Mom held a shirt in front of her chest and went back to her counter to finish applying her make-up.
"Mom, you have to open the door when Teresa is ringing the doorbell. It is her job to be here," I tried explaining, knowing she would grasp little of what I was trying say.
"No, I already told your dad no. I don't want people in my house when I'm not out there. They always come so early before I'm even ready, they can't be here that early."
"10:00 isn't early mom. Maybe you can leave the door unlocked next time so she can let herself in," I suggested.
Mom got a little smirk on her face and suddenly dropped her shirt for a brief second. "See, my old boob," she snickered, obviously not listening to anything I just said.
"Mom. When Teresa comes, you need to let her in," I said, trying to keep a straight face and ignore her silliness. "She'll be okay until you're ready. She's here to help. She can do some dishes or something while you're getting ready." I repeated my words over and over, trying to get her to focus on what I was saying. She would interrupt me with random thoughts,
"It's so weird how my back here is so sweaty, see. And my body gets real wet, here, under here too," she said, lifting up her arms and grabbing at her armpits. Eventually, she replied with,
"No. I don't want people here in my house when I'm not there and then people will steal from me. Even though I told her the other day she's nice, but I don't want her here when I'm not out there."
We went back and forth for a few more minutes. I assured her that Teresa would not steal from her; she was there to help and it was her job which she would be fired from if she stole. Mom instructed me to go stay with her until she was ready. I eventually told mom I had to leave.
I walked back out to the kitchen, where Teresa was washing a few dishes. I kind of explained mom's "logic" behind her note and Teresa was very sympathetic and understanding to mom's feelings. We talked a few more minutes until mom finally came out, empty Slim Fast cup in hand to put in the sink (this is her routine when she comes out of her cave...I mean, room).
"Hi Deana," Teresa said cheerfully.
"Oh hi, sorry about my note but I was just in the shower and getting ready," mom said sheepishly.
"It's okay, you look so pretty today! Your make-up looks really pretty," Teresa said to mom.
After small talk was being made, I said my good-byes to mom and Teresa and left.
I knew this would eventually happen. The tricky part now is figuring out how to resolve this so that I don't have to leave in the middle of volunteering-or anything else for that matter!-to let in mom's caregivers.