I wonder how long it takes before I realize that asking Dad to make simple decisions is just wrong? I really try to allow him to make as many decisions as he wants to. He has preferences. I eat my dinner in several bowls, Dad likes his food all in one large plate. I like to eat dinner watching TV, he likes to eat at a "proper table". So I always try to ask him what he whats.
It never occurred to me that he doesn't WANT to (or really can't) make decisions. I thought I was being considerate; I was making things hard for him.
He doesn't want to make decisions, and I have had a hard time grasping that. I thought "deciding" small things for himself would be the last thing he would give up. I was wrong...
Today, I was making the lunch sandwiches and Dad asked if he could help. Of course I said "yes"! Anything to make him feel useful (and, yes, I recognize a patronization about that). But, for almost 2 months, we have had sandwiches for lunch on medium size plates. One half a sandwich, with some pickle, carrot sticks, pickle, etc. So Dad decided to get out the plates. Coffee saucers... Then said "How will we fit the potato chips on this"? I said they wouldn't fit, so he brought out bowls. I mentioned that he likes plates for his sandwich.
I should have shut up. He got upset and said "I don't know what to use, I'll use whatever you tell me to use"!!!
He was right. He is depending on me now to make even simple decisions for him. And I didn't quite realize to what degree he was expecting/needing that.
He's my Dad. I want him to make decisions for himself even if they are very minor decisions. I guess I had in mind that it was GOOD for him to make some decisions. Thinking back over the past few weeks, I realize he doesn't WANT me to ask him whether he wants green beans or broccoli with his dinner. Even that decision is too challenging.
It's ironic. I've lived my life making my own decisions, and deliberately NOT trying to influence other peoples' decisions (except in a few ways like politics I'll avoid here). And now I'm being asked to do just that.
I mean all this just as an example. I could have used towels in the bathroom, or which shoes to wear.
I guess I have to learn to JUST DO IT around Dad and trust to my judgement...