Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"Diplomacy: The Business of Handling a Porcupine Without Disturbing the Quills"

- Author Unknown

I used my most important skill today to smooth out a potential flurry in the hen house. My mom is past the time when she should have taken a break for herself from the Grandma caregiving. We've gone over this piece of wisdom many times, but my mom finds it hard to plan for things. She only notices when she's at the point of no return.

She's feeling very burnt out right now, and was annoyed when my sister asked Mom to keep her budgie one more night after she got back from the cottage. My sister emailed me this morning at work to find out what was up with Mom, since she's not usually so sharp with her. I told her about Mom's current state of mind, plus the late-night thrill of discovering her fridge was glowing orange through the back (my husband pulled it out from the wall and unplugged it.) For my mom, there can be no greater calamity than having something go wrong with her fridge. That's where the food is enshrined. My mom works in food the way she also works in watercolors.

According to Dictionary.com, dilpomacy is the "skill in managing negotiations, handling people, etc., so that there is little or no ill will."

I took this golden opportunity. I made a case for encouraging my sister to try to find more time in her already crazy-hectic schedule to spend some TLC time with Mom. I live with Mom, and I give a lot of my time to looking out for her and making sure she doesn't get overwhelmed with Gram. But my sister is always a breath of fresh air to my mom, so I reminded her of that and encouraged her to be the 'sweetheart.'

She had to stop at our place to pick up her budgie on the way home from work, so she gave me a ride home. We stopped in at the grocery store so she could pick up some tomatoes, and she saw a cute, cheery gerbera daisy in a painted pot. "Do you think Mom would like this?" she asked.

I told her it would be perfect. And when Mom saw it, all her troubles melted away. My sister gave me a wink. I think there will be a few more pleasant surprises in Mom's near future, like impromptu jaunts to grab a coffee or a drive out to the country.

My sister felt relieved to know Mom was fridgeless (weird reaction explained), my mom felt elated to get a sassy flower, and I felt content that I'd be having reinforcements in my Mom-care efforts. Win-win-win all around.

Mom's new fridge arrives tomorrow, if inquiring minds need to know.


Kelly said...

We bought my mother a new fridge this year. Her old one was older than some of the kids : )
I love the diplomacy quote!

Anonymous said...

Great job. This could easily have turned into a quarrel or cuased bad feelings. Kudos to you for taking the right path and guiding your sister in a way that makes everyone, including yourself feel good.

And I agree, it's a great quote!

Akelamalu said...

Sometimes a gentle nudge is all that is needed. :)

Unknown said...

Julia, you have such a positive outlook on things, I'm not surprised you're the diplomat in the family. :) Nicely handled.

Unknown said...

I'm relieved your mom is getting a new fridge. I've never learned the art of negotiation when it comes to family but it sounds like you handled the situation splendidly.

Kelly Boyce said...

Of course I'm reading this thinking, when does she get a new fridge? Is the fridge okay? Guess we know where my priorities are!