A year and a half ago, I engaged sitters for Kate. On the whole, it has gone quite well. Kate accepted having them from the start; however, she has never been enthusiastic about them. More recently, as she has become more dependent on me, she has sometimes wanted to go with me when I leave or for me to go with her and the sitter if they are going to lunch. Each time I have managed to let her know that I needed to go to Rotary, the Y, or a meeting, and she didn’t protest.
Despite Kate’s acceptance, I’ve never felt fully comfortable leaving her. I’ve done it because I feel that it is important for me to have time away to do other things. It also sets the stage for increasing the sitters’ time in the future. Two experiences in the past five days have made me feel better about leaving her.
The first occurred last Friday. As I walked into the family room where Kate and the sitter were seated, I heard the sitter tell Kate that she would see her “next week.” Kate apparently misunderstood and thought she might not be coming back. Kate looked frightened and said, “You’re not coming back?” Mary repeated that she would be back next week. Kate said, “Good, because I need you.” I was happy to see that she not only felt comfortable with the sitter, but there seemed to be an emotional bond.
On Monday, we had a different sitter, Cindy. When I got home, they were engaged in a conversation, and Kate was playing a very active role in it. Cindy told me that Kate had not taken a nap and that they had been talking all afternoon. That was another victory. We had two good experiences with two different sitters.
I found both of these experiences encouraging, but the biggest victory came yesterday with Mary, our Wednesday/Friday sitter. Normally, I would leave for the Y as soon as s arrives. We had just returned home from lunch, and I wasn’t going to the Y but a dental appointment at 2:00. I didn’t need to rush, so I talked with Kate and Mary about ten minutes. I think that worked better than my leaving as quickly as I usually do. When I told Kate goodbye, she didn’t show any sign of disappointment that I was leaving or that she couldn’t come with me. The big surprise came when I arrived home. I found the two of them were still seated in the same chairs they were in when I left. I asked if they had gone out. Mary said they stayed at home and never left the family room. They talked and listened to the music playing on my audio system when I left. She added that they both rested in their chairs a short time. After Mary left, Kate said, “She is really nice.” It wasn’t just the words. It was the emotion she expressed as she said them. She had a really good time with Mary, and I felt better about having sitters than at any time since we began a year and a half ago. That was a victory.