Today's daily devotion

The Purim Switcheroo

As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you; you will find comfort in Jerusalem.—ISAIAH 66:13 [JPS]

As with every year, Mom and Dad accompanied us to our synagogue Purim feast. I didn’t stop to think that bringing Mom might be problematic. How would her Alzheimer’s brain process the noise, the crowd, the difficulty in navigating the buffet?

Dad and I took turns sitting with Mom at our table. Friends stopped by to engage her in conversation and I was overwhelmed by their kindness; Mom was glowing. Everything was going so smoothly, I almost dropped my guard. Then as she was getting ready to leave, Mom casually grabbed the handbag that was hanging on the back of the neighboring chair.

“Hey, Mom,” I said, “that’s not your bag. Let’s put it back on the chair.”

“This is my bag!” she snapped.

I tried gently to remove the handbag from Mom’s shoulder, but she snatched it back. We tussled over it and I knew her anger would escalate if I could not diffuse it.

That’s when I noticed an empty cloth bag lying under the table. I’d often used a kind of “bait-and-switch” with my kids. Would that work with Mom?

“Here,” I said, reaching under the table, “take this one instead.”

Mom took the cloth bag while I surreptitiously removed the handbag from her shoulder. Suddenly, her anger was gone, and Dad expertly maneuvered her outside and into the waiting night.

Dear God, thank you for teaching me how to parent my loved one in her times of need.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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