Every day since returning back to St. Louis, to be a caretaker for my mom, who has dementia, I have helped her get ready for the day. My routine: first, I help her with her shower; second, I help her get dressed; third, I take care of her hair—apply the styling cream, and then brush it to the back and down on the sides. Sometimes, I give her a nice head massage. If like them, she probably enjoys them as well. Mother like daughter, right? In addition, I ask her the following questions:

Me: What’s your name?

Mom: Terri Teresa.

Me: What’s my name?

Mom: April.

Me: What’s your other daughter’s name?

Mom: Tenika.

Me: What’s your husband’s name?

Mom: Hiram.

Me: What are the names of your grandkids?

Mom: Malachi, Michaela, and Malcom.

Me: Do you love me?

Mom: Of course. You’re my daughter. And I love your sister too.

These and other questions always make me smile. So, to capture this love, I decided to livestream some of my conversations on Facebook (FB).

Since I generally don’t know who is watching, unless they comment or like the video, it’s always a pleasant surprise when people mention the them. For example, while in a meeting with my friend Kelly, she pointed out how she especially loved watching me brush my mom’s hair. I was struck by her comment and asked her to explain further. She said, every time she saw me brush her hair, it brought tears to her eyes, because as she stated, “it is just so intimate. And the way your mom looks at you, is filled with so much love.”

All I could say was wow. I never paid attention.

The next day as I brushed my mom’s hair, I, too, noticed just how beautiful it was to look into my mother’s eyes. Love was looking back at me, and she loves ME! When I paid attention, I was able to see the love and just how freaking adorable she is in all of her beauty!!

The second observation happened a few weeks ago when my aunt, a hair stylist, pointed out my mom’s hair pattern, which goes in a circle. We both kind of laughed about it, because I noticed the same thing. However, it wasn’t until after she said it, that I realized I had been brushing my mom’s hair the wrong way for months. All of this time, I should have brushed her hair in a circular motion, going with the pattern. The next day, as I prepared her for the day, I did just that—brushed her hair in a clockwise motion, just as she did for the past 20+ years when she wrapped her hair before going to bed every night. What a difference! When going with the flow, it made it so much easier. Her hair laid down, and it looked better. It was natural. It worked.

In education, and life in general, we often are so busy doing a million different things and wearing just as many hats, that we overlook beauty staring us in the face. In addition, we often do what works for us, because since it worked for us, it should work for others right? While this may be true in some cases, if we don’t pay attention, we may be going against the grain, which may prove to be difficult and not serve us best. But when we pay attention and notice the details, we just might find a minor change could make a world of a difference.

What are you not noticing?

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