Bittersweet Bubble Gum on the Brain

If you know me well, you know that my filter on my mouth malfunctions quite a bit of the time. I would lay odds that it doesn’t work about 60% of the time, if you want to know the truth. I have always wanted to be the person who didn’t talk a lot. I will feel like the life of the party, but when I get home and start examining the event and my conversations with people, I start shuddering and having some serious speaker’s remorse, which is like buyer’s remorse, but harder to justify.

Proverbs has a lot to say on the subject of people who have a hard time controlling their tongue:

Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. 11:12

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. 17:27

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues. 17:28

The mouths of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.8:6

The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit. 18:21

A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much. 20:19

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
keep themselves from calamity. 21:23

These are just a few verses of how God feels about those of us who talk without thinking of the consequences. I say all of this to let you know that I fail all the time in controlling my mouth, and with the situation with my dad, I have probably (okay, definitely) let my sons hear a lot more than they should have. How do I know this? 2 reasons.”

Reason #1: Monkey told me the other day that he really didn’t want to go visit Papaw. I asked why. He responded, “He wants to drive and we can’t let him and he might hurt you.” Monkey was there during a visit that my dad got a little agitated. I had to tell them to leave the room, because of the way my dad was acting, and he picked up on the way my dad was acting. I am so saddened by this, the fact that Monkey knows my dad is sick and that Dad is acting so inappropriately.

Reason #2: I was on the treadmill yesterday and Caboose came upstairs with his blanket and pillow, and proceeded to make his bed on the beanbag. After a while, he looked at me and said (while rubbing his head with his hand), “I am sick. My brain is sick, Mama.”

WHAT???

He proceeds to rub his head (how does he know where his brain is??) and says, “My brain is sick, Mama, it is full of bubblegum and marshmallows.”

Yall, I had to stop the treadmill and listen to his little voice say it once again…”Mama, my brain is sick, it’s full of bubblegum and marshmallows.”

He’s laying down this whole time on our big beanbag upstairs, with his head on his Ninja Turtle pillow and his favorite blanket around him, and I realize that my mouth might have been running amok. That my dad’s brain is sick has been my big explanation as to why he isn’t here, but poor Caboose…he keeps asking, “Is Papaw feeling better?”

Not only does dementia affect the parent’s child, it affects their grandchildren. My boys miss their Papaw, and unfortunately, they have witnessed a Papaw that cannot comprehend what he is doing to them or to himself.

We celebrated Independence Day today, but for my family, it was extremely bittersweet. We were not together for the first time in…I can’t remember when. Yes, my family was in DC last year, but I talked to my family by phone that day. See, today is younger bro’s birthday, and I don’t think I have gone a single year without at least talking with him on July 4 since he was born. I didn’t get to talk to him today, and my dad is not able to be with us, and my in-laws are at the beach, and….

It’s bittersweet. I have never understood the meaning of that word better until the last few weeks. Webster’s says that it is pleasure mingled with pain or regret, and I totally get it now. My boys understand a little more than they did about the bittersweet. Caboose misses his bittersweet Papaw so much that he is Munchausing symptoms for my dad. As for me…the bitter is fighting with the sweet every day, and I will love my dad through the end. Even when the bubblegum and marshmallow is more like olives and anchovies. I am sorry that my boys are going through this, but life is real and hard and tough, and if they see compassion in action when we visit Papaw, then God will be that much more real. Now if I can just give up control of my tongue.

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