Thursday, October 15, 2009

Becoming a Middle-Aged Mom

I never got the mommy gene. I chose to focus on my career, so the child-rearing thing never happened for me.

Until now.

Suddenly, I have been thrust into becoming a single mom at the age of 47. My kids are my 78-year-old parents.

The role reversal has been a whirlwind and something I never expected. I always knew I'd take care of my parents when the time came, I just had no idea what it truly entailed. All the hours, the emotional drain and worst of all, the reversing of roles. Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining by any means. I am just floundering in a sea of Medicare paperwork, bills and not knowing how, exactly, to do this and do it right. My sister is in the same boat.

By day I run my company and do my job. And, I fax my power-of-attorney to endless numbers of people, talk to Medicare and AARP and sift through the mounds of papers and invoices required by it all. By night, I call my parents to be sure they are taking their meds, getting their flu shot, going to meals, checking their mail, etc. My sister and I talk numerous times daily and nightly to recount who said what to whom about what in order to keep everything straight.

I never thought I'd be helping people to the bathroom, doling out medicines, getting phone calls in the middle of the night when my dad misses my mom and hopes she is warm with enough blankets on her bed. Or, getting calls from the retirement facility to have a "parent-teacher conference" to discuss my parents' individual progress (or lack of it). Or, dealing with a mom who taught me to be the fiercely independent woman I am today - and now cannot pull herself together and adapt to living in a new environment separate from my dad.

It's a lot to take in. It's painful to watch. But, looking on the bright side, maybe what I am learning can help someone else who will walk in my shoes at some point.

1 comment:

Lori Lowe said...

This is such a sweet post expressing the very real emotional challenges of being a caregiver. It's fortunate that you know so much about the industry. Your experience will do doubt help you educate others about the caregiving role,even when they are strangers to the system. Can't wait to see that book one day! ;-)