In eleven days my Mom will celebrate her 90th birthday. Earlier this year my grandson turned 18 and graduated high school. My granddaughter is 13 and just started 8th grade. My youngest grandson will be welcoming a baby brother in a couple of months. My 3 1/2 year old Elijah is ready to start preschool and granddaughter Alyssa at 13 is gaining on me in height. All kinds of life changes. Kind of sets my mind spinning since each stage has very different needs. As my grandson, Isaac starts his job search, gets ready to drive, and move out on his own, my parents move from “Independent” living to Assisted Living.
My main focus is the pull between independence and dependence. As the oldest child and only daughter I have become a parent to my parents. This role requires a bit of a balancing act. A role reversal happens and my new place in life is difficult. It is hard enough to make life choices for yourself. With experience you weigh the pros and cons, and hope for the best. Looking back, you realize that decisions do not always equal a final decision.
As a new parent, you weigh your decisions and care for your baby. If your baby isn’t happy you are alerted by their cries. A teenager (young adult) knows “everything” and can verbally admonish your ruling as being unfair. Arguements ensue and life moves on. As a young adult each choice may seem final, yet later years show that it is possible (and probable) to regroup and take life in another direction. Part of living are the changes that occur.
The circle is closing. Memory isn’t clear, and I have to make decisions for my parents. I need to make a choice for the pair, but their needs are different. Mom and Dad married in 1947. They have been together for 68 years. They always relied on each other, and now they both need help. Dad approaching 97 still has another 6 1/2 years to catch up to his brother, my Uncle Mark. Yup, that makes my uncle 103 1/4 years young. I understand you go back to counting those half years. Remember when someone asked, ” How old is your baby?” Always replied 6 months, 9 months, 18 months.
With this decision to move to Assisted Living I meet a bit of resistance, but the fight retreats into a quiet resolve. I am saddened when I see this. My father looks around and says, “What about all of our furniture?” Then he takes another minute, and asks is it time to go to dinner? My mother wants some help, but having someone come in for a couple of hours in the morning doesn’t meet this need. I hope that I have chosen well, and that help will be provided in a caring fashion.
I’ve been told that growing old is not for sissies.
Here are some photographs taken from the last 10 years.
We gathered in Sun City West, Arizona to celebrate my Mom turning 80. Arizona in August is not the place to be, so we took the celebration up to Sedona, Az. Mom’s macular degeneration was starting to affect her good eye. This caused quite a bit of worry.
Sometimes I would tense up when I saw my mother with her cards. Usually meant that she was not at peace. Now, I would be happy if she could see her cards and play.
Must have got my tech genes from my Dad. Gadgets always facinates him. He tries to work my iPhone or iPad. Got to watch or like my grandkids all my apps and stuff will be moved around. Maybe I’ll give him one of my less important gadgets. Unfortunately, my iPhone keeps me in line. What kind of boss do I have?
Parents are still in their home in Arizona.
In August 2008, on my Mom’s 83rd birthday my parents move to Sacramento. The move was not smooth. She arrived here with a pelvis fractured in 5 places from a fall on the last day before the move. She recovered completely, but it was two months before she could go down stairs for dinner. Her eye sight was quickly failing, and adjusting to this and not driving was difficult.
And the circle of life continues.