You Will Understand When You Get Older

He is sitting in his grandmother’s front room. His father comes down the hall and settles into the easy chair next to the couch.

“I don’t know what to do with her.”

“What do you mean?”

“She refuses to pack. I have her suitcases open, and she won’t put anything in them.”

“She can’t stay here, Dad. She will burn the house down. She thinks men live in the basement.”

“I know, Son. But I can’t get her to decide anything.”

He stands up and walks down the hall. She is sitting on the bed staring at the floor. The suitcases are open and empty next to her.

“Granny, what’s going on?”

“Well, I don’t know about this trip. I think I would rather stay here.”

“Granny, you are going to Camille’s house to stay for a while. They are excited for you to stay and will be very upset if you don’t go.”

“I know. I just don’t know what to take.”

“Well, you need shoes. Which of those shoes right there do you want?”

She sighs. “The blue tennis shoes and the brown church shoes.”

“Good. You need two church outfits. Which of these four do you want?”

“The blue pant suit and the yellow dress.”

“How many pairs of pantyhose? Six? Seven?”

“Seven.”

He looks up to see his father standing at the door watching.

Fifteen minutes later, Granny is in the car and he is turning off the last light. His father stands at the door.

“Thank you, Son.”

“You’re welcome.”

“When you look at her, you see her as she is—an old lady with dementia. When I look at her, I see my mother with all our history and problems and I respond to that and to what she was not what she is. So I could not have done that.”

“It’s fine, Dad.”

“You will understand it more when you get older.”

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