What are words worth.

Posted Wed Apr 26, 2006, 20:31 PM by Tracy | |

Usually my brother comes on Saturdays to take Mom out for dinner. She really looks forward to that. This weekend Jim switched gears and came on Sunday. We pulled into the parking lot of the nursing home just as Jim was loading Mom into the truck. So we joined them for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Mom likes sushi.

Jim ordered a variety of sushi for Mom, including tobiko (flying fish roe) with quail egg, despite our cautions that it was messy. She was game to try. E ordered saba (pickled mackerel).

Mom enjoyed it all, especially the saba. She managed to not make a mess of the tobiko, no mean feat. I have difficulty with it myself, so this is no comment on her abilities. She enjoyed it as well.

This is important to remember.

Two days later, she and I were discussing the meal. I mentioned the tobiko with quail egg. She said it was good and that she liked the pickled quail the best, even though E “shoved” her into it.

Note Mom’s words: pickled quail.

This is important to remember.

I took exception to her characterization of E forcing her to eat something. Well, she said, he ordered it. No he didn’t, I said. Jim ordered everything she had. We argued back and forth, equally insistent. She clammed up.

A day later it occurred to me: when she said “pickled quail” she was thinking of the saba, or pickled mackerel. I had just mentioned the tobiko so I was still thinking of that. So we were both right.

We were talking about two different things and didn’t know it.

I’m embarrassed to have to admit that I need to work on my listening skills with my mother. I’m watching her cognitive skills slowly but surely decline in these small ways. The words don’t come out right. I have to listen to what she’s thinking rather than what she’s saying.

So what are words worth?


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