***Disclaimer…..this is all true but meant to make light of this situation. No disrespect to my parents or anyone else in their golden years. We just have to embrace what it is; although I see this as the beginning of a “parenting your parents” journey. Perhaps it will remain fun and entertaining….goodness, I hope so.***
Oh y’all…..getting older is for the birds because all of a sudden you change places with your parents. It sneaks up on you and bites you in the backside too. You don’t see it coming….it just happens when you least expect it. Since August it has become apparent to me that I have slowly been changing places with my parents. Little things have happened over the course of a few years and then my mom fell ill in August and well, that slow change became a quick one. Yesterday, my dad had surgery. It was hernia surgery but that is major for him due to his bad heart….which for the record I found out was a lot worse than he has let on. Actually, I found out a lot today and have decided it is time for me to take more of an active role in my parents healthcare. Oh joy…..I have a special needs child and I just now have inherited 2 more children in the form of my parents. Here are some things I have noticed since August:
They don’t see things they way you do! You can tell them things and they will refuse to see it your way. There is no way on God’s green earth that you can be correct about anything; I mean you are just a child for Pete’s sake! I could say the sky was blue and the grass was green and my dad would tell me it wasn’t. He can be very argumentative too…..of course I inherited that from him so you can imagine the fun banter we have back and forth. He told me yesterday…..”I don’t like you, you can leave.” Of course I reminded him that I have always done the opposite of what I was told so I stayed longer…..that was fun! He and I might have to get couples therapy to continue in this reverse parenting journey…..just sayin’.
They live in denial! They think they can still do things that they did in their 30’s. For example in my parents case….at the ages of 74 and 79 they are both still working full-time. I mean WHY? They have a pot to pee in, it’s not like they are destitute. This is the time in their life they should be enjoying retirement. I mean, you work ALL your life to just keep working until you die? Where is the fun in that. My parents both swear that they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their jobs. I mean, I get it…..it gives them something to do and they both love the people they work with and for but work part-time or volunteer. Why are they working 40+ hours per week? I just don’t get it. Enjoy the life they worked so hard for…..different generation I guess. I have been retired for 13 years and it was the best decision I ever made! HA! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them sitting around doing nothing but there has got to be more to enjoying your later years than punching a time clock.
They think they can still drive well! Okay, this is a huge one. Have you ridden with my dad? Trust me, you DO NOT want to. You are risking your life just going a mile down the road. The man CANNOT and I repeat CANNOT drive. You can ask anyone who has ever been a passenger in his vehicle. Most people (even family) swear they will never ride with him driving again. I am one of those people. You know the bumps in the middle of the road….the reflectors? I think dad makes a game of hitting EVERY.DANG.ONE of those things. Hands-free phone calls…..yeah, not safe…..at all. I mean, it would be if the dude could multi-task but that isn’t his strong suit. He either needs to talk on the phone OR drive…..NEVER both! Oh, and since I am on the topic of dad and his driving…..let’s “hypothetically” say he is in the right lane and needs to be in the left lane to turn a mile up the road. Well, what if he “hypothetically” just STOPS in the middle of traffic until he can get over. I mean, stops….with traffic barreling up on him…..stops until the left lane clears and then he moves over like nothing has happened. In regards to mom, she is a safer driver but if you want to get somewhere in a timely manner…..you had better drive. I truly don’t believe she has ever gone 1 mile over the speed limit….like no where…..ever….she is the little lady peering over the steering wheel and everyone passing her by. I seriously have been in the passenger seat trying my hardest to hit the gas on my side of the car (it doesn’t work).
They refuse to admit they are old! My dad said yesterday “I am 79 in age only…..it’s just a number. I am still physically and mentally in my 30’s. Ummmmm, no pops…..no! Let’s call a spade a spade….YOU are old! That is not a bad thing. It is just time to embrace it, enjoy the fruits of your labor (which means quit work and travel, go see movies, volunteer at a cat shelter, eat out, start researching your assisted living home possibilities so I don’t have to……)
They are stubborn! This is a BIG one. Oooooo, stubborn as mules I tell ya! “Dad, the doctor said no driving, no work, no church for 2 weeks and until he releases you at your post-op appointment.” His response, “That is just stupid. I am going back to work tomorrow. I can’t just sit around and do nothing for 2 weeks.” I replied, “Uh, yes you can and you don’t have a choice.” His response, “How much you wanna bet?” Oh dear…..stubborn as the day is long. Mom isn’t as bad, but she has gotten more stubborn the older she has gotten. Right now, with mom still in a lot of pain with her back and dad now recovering for the next 2 weeks it will be quite interesting to say the least. I am glad I don’t live with them!
They are afraid their money will run out before they do; they have become cheaper than ever before! Can I get an AMEN on this one? Oh my gosh…..if I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times…..”We have to work because we don’t have enough money to take care of us in our old age.” What do you mean “in your old age?” You are already there dad! He will say, “I don’t want to run out of money because I don’t want to live under a bridge.” REALLY dude?!? I mean, you are a stubborn pain in the butt sometimes, but your kids aren’t gonna let you live under a bridge. The only thing your children will not do for you is change your diapers (y’all I have to draw the line somewhere)….BUT I will hire someone to do it; so you are golden!
I had to repeat to dad about 12 times yesterday before leaving the hospital his instructions for the next 2 weeks. Sit in your chair, take your pain meds, drink fluids, pet the cat, watch Gunsmoke and MASH. I then told him to repeat back to me his instructions for the next 2 weeks. He said, “get up, shower, drive myself to work.” Oh my…..this goes back to that stubborn gene. Let’s talk pain medication, mainly Narcotics. The poor dude is afraid he is going to get addicted. He thought that of my mom and fought with the doctors about giving her Narcotics. I finally had to bop him upside the head and tell him that Narcotics are good things when used appropriately and for a short period of time. Don’t get behind the pain, stay on top of it or healing will take longer. My gosh…..I have told him the same thing a bazillion times and he still argues about Narcotics. I mean, if you don’t need them, don’t take them but if you do….TAKE THEM; that is what they are for! This goes hand-in-hand to the prove the point that I know nothing and am just the “kid.”
Now y’all, I have a child who is 13, but cognitively she is about 5 years old. My dad…..well, he is about her level. Mom acts a little older. Dad…..well, y’all need to pray for my mom the next 2 weeks. I am afraid though she won’t put her foot down hard enough so then I will have to go over there and put my foot somewhere…..perhaps where the sun doesn’t shine.
Raising parents….I have a feeling this adventure will be unlike anything I have ever done before. JOY JOY! Here is to all you “kids” out there who are raising your parents or have raised your parents! I feel ya, I hear ya and I am right there with ya! Here is to new adventures and some truly laughable moments still to come!
Until next time…….