Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The pendulum is swinging back in my direction, and it’s heading straight for me, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  I’m just one little ball away from being toppled by it’s mighty blow.

I’m looking after my parents now.  You see, this is the time in life where the roles have changed, and we, as children, ,must do our best to look after our aging parents.

It’s not an easy task, as I’m still their little boy in their eyes. (and many times, in mine.)  They are creatures of a very regimented schedule, and strict habit.  Casual living is not my parents’ strong suit.  Taking it easy, and relaxing does not come easy to two very busy, and involved people.  They have been forced to slow their breakneck pace due to illnesses, old age, and well; life.  Technology has rolled over them like a locomotive.  They refuse to leave their one cell phone on when it’s on the charger.  They don’t even have call waiting.

I am responsible for getting them to and from appointments with the doctors.  I also stop by every now and again just to have dinner, and get them caught up on my mundane and docile life.  They look forward to my visits, as their friends are mostly over the phone friends these days.  I help them put away the holiday decorations, as the boxes are just too big to carry down the basement steps.  I fix the plumbing, and the electrical, and put up new shelves. These are all things my Father would do on his own, and I know how to do them because he took the time to show me 'how to'.

I am conflicted often about having to drop everything and run over to their house.  I go, kicking and screaming, and cursing as I drive.  I argue with myself at how selfish I appear to be, and how dare you for a second act that ungrateful to the two people who brought you into this world, and gave you so much for so long.  I hang my head in shame from the guilt I feel about my thoughts.

Today, I’ll fix a ceiling fan that’s on the fritz.  Mom will hug me for what seems like a full 10 minutes, thanking me profusely.  Dad will shake my hand, and pat his Mr. Fixit on the back.  And I will leave, with a smile on my face, as I’m reminded that paying it back comes in many different forms.  This is my job now, and I’m perfectly suited for it.  I’ve got to run for now.  It’s pizza night, and a light fixture needs new bulbs.


  1. I am not looking forward to that. Caring for my parents or feeling guilty because I will do it begrudgingly instead of with a grateful heart for all that they have done for me. My parents are going through this with my grandmother right now. She is 88 and in poor health. They have basically changed their entire lives, physically moved, and spend the bulk of their time accommodating her needs above their own. It is taking a toll on them and on their relationship with my grandmother and each other. She is too prideful to want to be taken care of by her daughter. Mom feels guilty because she is caring for her but fees like she should want to, not have to and she doesn't want to. Not that she doesn't love her, just that it interferes with her own pursuits and sucks the energy out of her, literally. There are no easy answers but she assures me, not sure how she thinks it will happen, that I she will never put me in the position that she has found herself in. I say, good luck with that. You are a good son ET!

  2. Whenever I hear stories about people taking care of their parents (my mother is currently taking care of my 96 year old grandmother) I can't help but wonder what my husband and I will do when we get to that age, as we have no children.

    You are indeed a good man, .ET.

  3. Yes, you are perfectly suited for it. Fixing the fan, taking down the Christmas tree, and picking up the pizza are the right things to do, whether you (or any of us) feel like it or not.

    Then someday you'll look back and say, "I did everything I could to be there for them, no regrets." You are setting yourself up today for peace in your heart down the road.

    My dad died last August, and I was a generous and devoted daughter the whole way through. And that's the kind of son you are, too. I'm proud of you. Hugs... :)

  4. My, My...Your showing more of your sweet side.

    I imagine its rough taking care of parents, but the fact that you fell guilty means your a good person...Otherwise you just wouldnt give a shit.

    I have only had to deal with a few of these things. I have had to help my dad with is computer over the phone all the way on the other side of the US...Its frustrating, but I do it.

  5. My mom is in her late 60's and due to some severe arthritis, she needs mine and my better half's help quite often. I would actually love it if she just moved in with us. I give every Saturday to her, instead of hanging with my friends, and I cherish every moment. Those memories far out weigh any additional help she needs. You are a great son!

    As for me, well I am completely screwed as I have no kids, let's hope my mini daschund will be able to fetch my slippers when I can no longer bend.

    PS I hope you write some more poetry as you are completely talented!


  6. That may be the most adorable thing I;ve ever read.


    - B x

  7. Randy- I think that when your turn comes, you will remember how your parents struggled with their current situation. That will be how you find your balance, when the time comes.
    Sugar- I might recommend finding a nice hut on a beach somewhere, sharing umbrella drinks until you both agree to shed this mortal coil together.
    Linda- You always, always find the right words. Thank you.
    AG- Thrilled that you stopped by! My folks have shared some valueable stories with me during our most recent visits.... A strengthening of our bond through conversation. I agree, cherish every moment.
    Barreness- Sorry I went all soft on ya. Hope you didn't throw up in your mouth or anything. :-)

    AG- About that poetry... We will have to see what I can create. My inspiration has been lacking these last few months, so who knows what will come out of this twisted pile of voices in my head?

  8. I finally got around to posting about a award that I got and I then passed it on to you :)


  9. So well said. I already miss those "change the smoke detector battery" trips. Cherish every hug while you can.

  10. Thank you for showing your heart so beautifully.
    I, too am reaching the point of needing to care for an aging parent. We are both a little angry, I think. She, because she can no longer be the caregiver she has always been. Her legs don't work so well, she can't stand in the kitchen for hours like she always did cooking up comfort for anyone in need of it. She can no longer visit her sick friends in the hospital or do the grocery shopping or clean her house. She needs my arm and her cane to get to the car. She sits for long lonely hours in the chair in my living room doing the crossword puzzle or watching old movies.
    I am angry for many reasons. It is difficult to watch her, a fading remnant of the vibrant, gregarious woman she once was. I am angry that she won't talk about how any of this makes her feel. And, selfishly, I am angry that at the very same time I got to a point in my life when I no longer had to be quite as attentive to my children's needs, I acquired another.
    Still, I treasure every moment, every mundane conversation, because I know they will all too soon be gone. And I think the opportunity to take care of her as she has always cared for me is somehow sacred.
    Peace, ET.

  11. Brandi- Your requested post went up this morning. Sorry for the delay, I was quite busy this weekend. For a change. :
    Chrissy- Thanks for the inspiration, friend. I've followed along with your story, and I have to admit it right here out in the open that your story inspired my story. Thank you, and hugs to you!!
    Sissyloo- It's these moments that will carry us through the rest of our lives, I believe.