As I’ve gone through this process of finding retirement living for my parents, I’ve written about the developments as they’ve happened, in order to capture the actual feelings and details of the moment. Some Care @ Care-giving blogs are actually posted several weeks after I write them and I’ve all but forgotten what happened when I see them again. Right now, as I write this, I’m going through hell.
I’ve gotten used to hysterical morning phone calls from my mom and they haven’t been fun, but I’ve managed to keep my cool. This morning she called so early that she woke up my husband. And she didn’t call me – she called my husband’s cellphone. This was a big deal. In our family everyone knows you don’t talk to Bill in the morning. He willingly works until midnight, but don’t call him before ten am. He’s awake before then, but you don’t want to talk to him.
In spite of the fact that she broke his sacrosanct rule, I was glad she did. I’d asked him to call her the day before, but when Bill got my dad instead, he just left a reassuring message to be passed on to her. In a way, the wake-up call was his own fault. Finance is his career, so he’s the family adviser on all things related to money. Mom keeps insisting my “emotions” are clouding my ability to see red ink in their future, so Bill was the logical person to talk to her. When he tried to squeeze by a confrontation, he only delayed it.
Since confession is good for the soul, I’ll tell you my first reaction to her call was anger. I didn’t feel Bill held up my side vigorously enough. Yes, he had a reason for letting her vent without giving me the satisfaction of endorsement, but it was for the eventual good – which as stressed out as mother’s arguments are making me, I really wasn’t ready to consider.
Most of the time, at least in the moment, I have an almost surreal calm – but as an observer of Bill’s conversation, I turned into an emotional mess. Mom told him to tell me to back off. I wanted him to tell her to get real. Instead, he had a better idea. He called up my sister’s husband and planned a shoot-out at Not-So-OK Corral.
It’ll be The Sons-In-Law against The Mother-In-Law while my dad, my sister and I cheer on the sidelines. Mom wants to throw my emotionalism out the door and talk finance – well she just might be wishing she had continued to call me with her complaints. My husband is a full-time investor, has his MBA and is even an accredited adviser for some types of investments. My brother-in-law is a real estate professional. She wanted to cast me as the bad cop. We’ll show her some bad cops.
In reality, I’m sure both son-in-laws will be as loving and respectful to my mother as they always have been. Their concern for both parents is genuine and real. I want very much for my Mom to appreciate the time, love and effort that have already been devoted to this effort by everyone concerned. I hope they can lead her to a solution that really works. But I have to confess, I also hope the hysterical phone calls I get every morning will come to an end.