It always amazes me how a couple of chords from a song can transport you back to a very specific time and place. And how the faintest sniff of a delicious and familiar aroma wafting through the air can cause your mouth to water and your stomach to growl.
But, not all sensory memories are pleasant.
Years ago I watched a woman I knew — though not well — being pushed in a wheelchair. I won’t go into what put her in the chair, other than to say that it greatly impacted her both physically and mentally.
And then I saw the hat she was wearing.
And for reasons that were completely unclear to me at the time, it broke my heart.
It was a mesh-backed trucker hat. (And this was long before Ashton Kutcher made them “hip” and then completely objectionable again.)
I was absolutely fixated on the hat.
It wasn’t that this formally vibrant woman was now unable to care for herself. It wasn’t that this young woman had her life changed in such a huge way.
Though I recognized how deeply tragic these things were.
Later, it hit me…
It was the lack of control she now had.
I fully realize that her caregivers were trying to keep the sun off her face and out of her eyes. I do.
I just didn’t feel that she would have worn that hat normally.
And that bothered me.
It comes back to me when someone places a hat on the ACN (Adorably Cute Niece) that I don’t think the world’s cutest 6 year old should be wearing.
It bothers me.
Early on, the ACN’s mommy told us that it was good to give the ACN options. I REALLY ran with that. So much so that the mommy now tells me that I give too many options.
Pfffffft to that.
If the ACN tells me that she wants to go to the bathroom every five minutes for an hour… Well, then we go to the bathroom every five minutes for an hour.
If the ACN wants to spend 90 minutes deciding which pair of jammies she wants to wear, then we spend 90 minutes picking jammies.
And I am completely aware that she is only doing it because she loves my fake grrrrrrrrs when she changes her mind.
But, if the ACN wants something and I am able to do it, then she gets it. It’s really that simple to me.
I adore the little squirt. And she is still the toughest little chick that I know.
And there are, and will continue to be, things in her life that she won’t be able to control.
But, I’ll be fucked if a choice of hats is one of them.