When you first have children, you worry about so many things. Keeping your eye on them at all times so that they don’t get hurt or being there when they do fall to brush them off and get them back on track are among the many. We worry about good childcare and feeding them a balanced diet so that they will flourish. Decisions are made, whether to make their meals or feed them pre-made jarred food. We try and teach them to be independent and do things on their own, like getting dressed and doing chores, as they grow up and gain independence.
Well, I am at that point in my life again, but “parenting” has taken on a new meaning. I am talking about when life comes full circle and we are faced with making decisions to help our parents. To me, this is when parenting means making sure our parents are safe, and if they do fall down, we are there to help them up and pray that they haven’t hurt themselves too badly.
So, instead of worrying about the young teenager that arrives at my door to take care of my infant who just started to walk, it means finding the best home healthcare provider after surgery so that I know I can trust them and get a good night’s sleep.
I have added health caregiver to my resume recently and with that came fear, exhaustion and frustration, but most of all, some amazing time together. I wouldn’t trade this time, but I will say it was deja vu some days — arguing about sitting still, you need to eat more for lunch so that you will have energy, and listening to their frustration was similar to those of an infant who can’t express what they want. I lost many nights' sleep worrying about my children while in college and even when they graduated. I sleep with my phone close to my bed so I won’t miss a call in the middle of the night, and now that includes not wanting to miss a call if my in-laws or mom call (or Gloria, for those that know me well).
Trying to get my kids to understand the importance of certain decisions could make me blue in the face at times. During this pandemic, I feel like arguing with my parents to stay home and self-isolate is almost worse than arguing with my children. Convincing them to not let anyone at all in their home and not going anywhere has been a constant conversation/battle.
My mother in law always says, “say yes until you really mean it and then say no, so they know you mean it." I’m saying NO to save their lives, period... hard stop!
With all of today’s technology, there are so many ways to help them maintain their independence, yet stay home and stay safe. I'm so thankful that we had already gotten them iPhones. Getting our parents all set up was a comedy for all of us, but so very helpful for them to have access to apps and functions. They had their first Zoom experience over the recent holiday. Staying connected during this time is so very important. Also, driveway visits to set eyes on each other has been priceless.
Nothing replaces family, and when the ride-share app isn’t working or the grocery app is slow, I’m always here for them to basically “get things done!”
One thing that has become crystal clear in this whole crazy world that we are living in is that we must be present, and that means being there to help family and friends, and to help make sense of this crazy world that we live in.