Being in midlife and caring for aging parents can be a circus. Or maybe a merry-go-round that's not always merry?
Mom is 81, and Dad is 86. They live about 10 minutes away, in their own home. Steadfast Hubbie, my stalwart brother John, and I try to make life a little easier for them, but sometimes that works out better than others.
Mom does much of the caregiving for Dad, who's visually impaired and uses a walker. She chases him around to get him shampooed at the kitchen sink. She shaves him with an electric razor every couple of days, with him puffing and blowing like a steam engine.
Dad's visual problems lead to some interesting situations. He complained that he didn't like his rice the other night at a restaurant. The rest of us looked at each other. His “rice” was coleslaw, we told him. He's a good sport, and a generous man. He laughed along with us.
Currently we are wracking our brains to find something he'll like to eat. Yet we have to keep watch on him—he's been known to eat the scraps my mother saves for her cats.
“Mmm, that sausage was good,” he'll say.
“But Charles,” Mom shrieks, “that was for the cats-- it was cooked two weeks ago!”
Both Mom and Dad are hearing impaired; Hubby is slightly deaf. Me too. When did everyone start mumbling and garbling? Trying to hear in a noisy room is getting difficult for all of us.
A conversation: “Well, it’s snowing in Boston,” I say.
“Oh, you’re reading Jane Austen?” Mom asks.
“You’re throwing the moss? What moss?” Hubby inquires.
“You’re going for Frosties?” Dad wonders.
Oh, never mind.
I pray for patience, with menopausal wickedness making me feel like a certified witch on a broom. Outwardly, I do my best to smile. Mostly.
The “Sandwich Generation” term has already become cliché. We don't have the bottom piece of bread in our family sandwich, since Hubby and I don't have children. So I guess we're the peanut butter, stuck to the plate, topped by a piece of bread?
Hope it's not moldy. I'll have to put my glasses on to see.