Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Adulting 101

I’m almost thinking I should change the blog name to Adulting 101, but I’m going to be learning this stuff along with you all, so… I’ll just leave things the way they are. At least I’ll know SOMETHING has remained the same.

I’m becoming my mother.

Wait, let me rephrase that… I’m becoming THE mother. Of my mother. And my father. I’ve become their protector, their advisor, their liaison, their advocate.

And I’m really ok with that, even though it’s not happening quite the way I’d imagined. Somehow, I thought I’d be more settled, more secure, less stretched so thin you could read a newspaper through me.

Um, that last part is totally figurative, since when I’m stressed I tend to eat and I’ve been VERY stressed for quite a while now. Like, since I was 23.

But this new phase of my life kind of began with a phone call. Or more like several phone calls in which I realized my mother was starting to repeat things. Now I am well aware we all do that, but they were things we’d just talked about and even though I have been known to do that very thing on occasion, this was becoming frequent and kind of irritating. I’d find myself getting impatient, thinking she was just doing it on purpose, or not paying any attention to what I was saying.

Then it got to the point where she admitted she was forgetting things more and I began to realize she was getting older and, perhaps, there was something more going on.

My job has taught me a lot. Working with special needs kids has opened a well of patience and humor that I never thought existed in me. I wish it had been available when my children were young, but that’s another story. But I have a feeling it will stand me in good stead when it comes to taking care of my parents.

For instance, when talking with my dad, I am frequently regaled with tales of him falling down and having to crawl around “for two hours” until my mom got home. Of course, five minutes into the story and we learn he’d been crawling for four hours! Then five hours! Finally, SIX HOURS LATER he was rescued and no longer had to crawl around the patio looking for a way into the house. He has been known to exaggerate upon occasion. I guess we know where I picked up that trait now, don’t we?

Personally, I think the old fart flings himself to the ground just so my mom won’t catch him smoking.

After many discussions and sleepless nights, I decided it was time to make some changes. If we hadn’t purchased the hat shop, chances are very good, we would have packed up and moved to southern Oregon to take care of my folks and raise some kind of organic stuff to sell at the market. Jobs are scarce down there, so making your own way is pretty much the best chance you have to survive.

Looking at it from that perspective, I think I’m glad we didn’t go that route, although I do love it down there, Tam and I aren’t exactly spring chickens and tending five acres is best left to those with non-arthritic joints. Especially since about 1/3 of that property consists of steep hillside… in wildfire country. And there’s poison oak and stuff.

But this journey is a young one. Fraught with moments that make me laugh, cry, and wet myself, and I’m sure it will only get better as we go along.

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