A memory is a strange thing, especially when one of the people that you live with doesn’t really have one anymore.
Many real, tangible things don’t stay in my grandma’s mind anymore. Instead she seems to live partially in a fantasy world, so that’s where I live too. She started calling my bedroom “Jupiter” months ago when I would always joke with her that I was traveling to Jupiter when she asked why I was going into another room. It was the first thing that came into my mind, it made her laugh, and was easier than explaining that I was just going to walk into the kitchen, and that yes we do have a kitchen.
Now she says I live in Jupiter and at night tells me I have to return to Jupiter and that she will see me again in the morning. A whole mythology has developed around it. Most people would see a small room with two windows and a closet. To my grandma, Jupiter is the best place in the whole world to live, it has a giant bed that she could never climb in, its own TV, and tons of dinosaurs. Sometimes Jupiter even has multiple floors and magical things happen there.
The best part about Jupiter is that it is the home of my alter-ego Sock Girl. Born from my grandma’s interest in Jupiter and the nightly ritual of me taking off her socks before she gets in bed. Sock girl began magically appearing every night to take off her socks. Taking off grandma’s socks was actually her favorite thing to do.
Then one day Sock Girl found a cape, which gave her extra powers, including the ability to fly. Now with the ability to fly and to come out even when she was not required to remove socks, Sock Girl gained power and popularity, even though her subjects occasionally wished she would stop flying around the house in circles. She even began appearing in unusual places, like museums.
My grandma doesn’t know that we have a kitchen or where the bathroom is, but she remembers Sock Girl. So now I fly around the house dressed as Sock Girl and tell stories about Jupiter all the time. This is the way to connect with grandma, and make caregiving a bit more fun, even when Sock Girl is told to “be still.”
I teach people about skulls, mummies, and dinosaurs and I fly around in a cape.