Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.
Balancing Act - or why I am too preoccupied right now to work on the blog posting I planned for today
I have a 17-year-old-son, a husband and a cat - who I live with - and two aging parents, and three grown daughters, who live a long way from here. The problem is that I can only be in one place at a time. That means that I have to choose. Should it be at home, where I have a son about to graduate from high school or with my mother, who is in the hospital for at least the third time this year or should it be with my youngest daughter who is battling alcoholism and health problems? There are no easy decisions.
And, because I am a Baby Boomer, I know that I am not alone. Many women I know face similar choices. I have a cousin in California who has spent most of the past several years looking after her aging mother who lives in Kentucky. Recently, she returned to her life in California, which includes two grown daughters, and got a job and is trying to catch up on the hard work of making money to set aside for her own old age. And then her mother had a stroke and is in the hospital, not doing so good. What now, she asked me in her last email. I have friends who also face difficult choices between the family they are raising and aging parents who live far away. It is a part of aging that I didn't prepare for or expect to be so hard.
Feeling the Squeeze (an article on women "feeling the squeeze")
My siblings help my parents and they also have a live-in caregiver. Unfortunately, although wonderful in many ways, there are important tasks that the caregiver, lets call her Helen, cannot help with. My sister who lives about four hours away from parents does many of these other tasks, but, in my opinion, needs a break. And, even if she could do it all, as my parents approach 80, the fact is that I want to spend time with them while I can. Loving people from a distance is frustrating when they need help, not just words. Today, my mother sounded weak and confused on the phone and my father sounded exhausted. Right now, my cousin and I are trying to decide what to do. To paraphrase Shakespeare, To go or not to go, (to be with our mothers) that is the question. There are times when no decision seems to be the right one. But a person can only worry for so long; then, they need to take a break. The lovely song below by Indiana singer/songwriter, Carrie Newcomer, helps put things in perspective.
What do you do to recharge your batteries when it's just all too much?