Role Reversal

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She wanted to talk to me.

She’s having trouble sleeping, but doesn’t want the kids to know. They already worry too  much about her. She doesn’t want to be a burden, already feels like she’s a burden.

Her daughter called her three times during our talk, our 20 minute visit.

They worry about her, they push her to do things for herself… walk more, exercise, socialize. But she’s tired of pushing herself.

She’s sad, and anxious, and not demented at all. She’s smart,  but her body can’t keep up with her mind.

When did the roles change?

Why do they make decisions for her? Why do they tell her what to do, when to do it, how to do it?

She always feels like she’s disappointing them. She can’t reach the goals they set. Her frailty frustrates her. She’s letting them down, they deserve better, she’s just in the way.

How can she stop feeling like a burden? How can she stop them from feeling like she’s their responsibility?

I’ll bet she can remember holding her chubby babies. Feeding, bathing, loving them. Nurturing them, raising them, watching them grow up as she grew old.

I see her. I SEE her. One day, I could be her.

My words don’t fix things, but she’s grateful for the time we spent. I can’t change how she feels, and I can’t make them feel like they don’t NEED to care for her. It’s out of love and the duty that comes with love.

But…it still sucks.

 

 

 

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Old enough for a mammogram

Man on top of mountain.

It’s that time of year again….. time for me to take a look at where I’m standing on this hill.

Oh, look….. I’m at the top!!

What really brought it home for me was a conversation I had with my friend today. She’s a year older than me. Somehow she mentions the word “mammogram”. As in, she hasn’t had one yet and hey, why don’t we do it at the same time to kind of force each other to get it done….then go eat lunch or something.

Blink.

Mammogram???  You must be thinking of someone else. I’m still in my 30’s.

Talk to me in 10 days.

On getting older

old

 

When I was 29, I wrote what amounts to a blog post about getting older. Except I didn’t know what blogging was at that time, so I just typed it up on the computer and saved it. I think I was going to submit it to magazines, knowing the world would want my fresh perspective about how it feels to age from the standpoint of someone STILL IN THEIR 20’s.

Don’t worry. I just smacked myself.

There I was, worried about turning 30.  Stressing about the expression lines in my forehead and what department I should shop in, was I too old for Junior’s? God knows I was too young for Women’s….. and the waistbands there…….

I think back to that person I was. That young, silly girl really…..

She had NO idea. None. That girl, because certainly I didn’t feel I’d matured to the point of real womanhood yet, was so afraid of being 30. That girl wasted her entire 29th year in fear of what would happen upon turning 30. Guess what?

She lived.

I have settled comfortably into my 30’s, and finally found an acceptance of myself that I never had in my 20’s, or before.  Call me crazy, but I’ve liked my 30’s a lot more than any other age so far.

Why?

Because in some magical way, I’ve learned to care more about what I think about myself that what YOU think about me. Most of the time. I’m still critical of myself, but for my own sake, not anyone else’s. If I didn’t like something about myself 15 years ago, it was probably because I was worried it wasn’t good enough, didn’t look good enough for the approval of those around me. Now….when I want to cry about what having 4 kids has done to my body, it’s because I don’t like it….not because you may not. Get it?

And getting past 30, and then DEEP into the 30’s, gets you over the fear of being that age. Because every morning I still wake up, and when I look in the mirror I see the same face. Entering “full adulthood” hasn’t ravaged me. yet.

And when I think of turning 40….which is just a short year and 2 months away….. I’m not scared.

I wish I could have saved that girl I was from worrying and wasting a whole year, living in fear of a number she thought would define her in some horrible way. I would love for her to know how much better life gets when you become comfortable with yourself, and stop living in fear of losing your youth.

Now my sister is going to be 30. I remember being her age, looking ahead at what was surely going to be the start of “the end” for me….and being so jealous of her, at that time still so early into her 20’s. I was so sad for myself.

Now… I’m just happy for her. Because she’s going to find out what I already know.

At 30, things are just starting to get good.