Chat @ Care-giving: The Tables Have Turned

Remember all that teen-aged angst you poured out on your parents? Were your terrible twos more terrible than the average toddler? Retribution awaits!

I’ve had a good relationship with my folks.  I wasn’t the perfect kid and they didn’t do everything by my book, but all in all I had a great childhood.  We’re still very close.  I love and admire both of them more than I can say.  I wish could undo some of the things I put them through, but now I have the chance to make it up to them.

Instead of the babysitter calling Mom and Dad at a restaurant, because I’ve created some calamity, Mom calls me at a celebratory meal and says, “Your dad is unresponsive and throwing up, what should I do?”  They no longer cart me to the doctor to keep me healthy, I take them.  I find myself rescuing the very people who used to extract me from the worst of my dilemmas.   The tables have turned and some days are more difficult than others.

Remember the Shootout at Not So OK Corral, where the Sons-In-Law took on my mother.  Well, it went much better than it could have.  Even though mother took a left turn from a decision she’d arrived at earlier in the week, we were still headed toward retirement living.  We just had to go pick out an apartment.

Bright and early on the morning after the Shoot-out, I showed up at my parents house again.  It was my usual Thursday visit, but we weren’t going grocery shopping or to one of her doctors.  We were headed to her potential new home. The Sons-in-law would meet us there to urge her towards the right decision.

Mom and I have different outlooks concerning change.  I like it and have moved many times in my life.  Moving allows me a fresh start and provides a great opportunity to eighty-six baggage I don’t want to carry around anymore.  The number of boxes I have to pack reminds me of my blessings and getting to handle all of the things that I love is a pleasure.  Mom doesn’t buy into this mindset at all and she’s strongly opposed to leaving her home.

Whiterock Court only had two apartments available that would suit my parent’s needs.  One had a challenging floor plan and the other was further away from the dining room than they wanted.  At the end of the day Mom wrote a deposit check and signed a rental agreement, but I had no sense of victory.  It was all too apparent that she was miserable.  She’d accepted the lesser of the evils I’d presented to her, but what she really wanted – just to be happy and safe in her own home – was not an option.

The Sons-in-law and I hung tough all day, but just before signing the dotted line Mom needed a potty break.  I walked with her to the ladies room.  Rarely had she appeared so frail and never so unhappy.  “Can’t we just go home and forget all this?” she asked.  My heart flipped over in my chest, my gut wrenched and the cast of Stomp began dance practice in my head.  “Mom, we can go home, but we can’t forget all this.”

This is tough – all of it – but when I want to check out, I remind myself that they never checked out on me.


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