Sorry it’s been awhile. Lots going on.
Through some weird twist in the time-space continuum (see highly technical diagram) my sibs and I have become our parents’ parents.
Clearly, this is the result of all that we put them through as kids – well, not me of course, but my brothers and sisters (random speculation on their part).
Me? I suspect it’s another one of those lousy curses my mother put on us. While my 15 year-old ears heard her say, “Just wait until you have kids,” she may as well have said, “Just wait until I’m your kid.”
Let me explain…
About a month ago, whilst I was in the middle of polishing off a bit of snappy dialog between the hero and heroine in my latest book, the phone rang. A frail, but cheery voice on the other end started, “It’s your pesky mother. I hate to bother you, but…”
I don’t mean to sound callous. These calls started years ago. First, mom couldn’t reach something on the top shelf or dad needed a hand lifting something that he used to be able to heft over his shoulder effortlessly in the past.
It was around then that my sibs and I suggested that they move out of their multi-level townhouse into something a little more manageable. Dad was on board; mom balked. A child of the Depression, she was (and is) loathe to part with her things (and has developed a bizarre penchant for hoarding canned goods, bread, milk and eggs).
So the years passed and the calls (and her canned good supply) increased.
And two of my sibs moved out-of-state.
Somewhere along the way, the errand running morphed from occasional grocery store runs to doing all of their shopping and taking over their finances when errors in their checkbook, and late or missed payments, became the norm.
At first it was hard playing parent to my folks. My sibs and I would go into heavy deliberations on our strategies before even approaching them with delicate topics. Even then, we were on eggshells.
First, there was the whole bit about getting our dad to agree to relinquish his license – especially after he drove his caddie up onto a crowded curb (no one was hurt, that goodness). Since then, there have been several attempts to get them to downsize, interspersed with several trips to the ER each time dad took another tumble.
Things came to a head about a month ago when my mom called again, this time to tell me, “Dad’s having trouble coming down the stairs.”
I just so happened to be working from home that day. What they would’ve done if I was in the office, I don’t know. I went flying over to their place and called an ambulance. He was admitted to the hospital. My out-of-town sister came home. We worked with the discharge coordinator to have him moved to an assisted living facility directly after being released from the hospital because a) my mother cannot take care of him and b) he can no longer get around on his own.
Everything was a go. Dad was on board.
Dad went home. A nurse visited for a few times until my parents canceled (“We don’t like strangers in the house,” they said).
I know what you’re thinking. Why not have your folks move in with you?
The answer is simple. Neither my sister or I live in a one-story house.
Which brings us to the most recent call.
I had just started a load of laundry when the phone rang. “Hi dear. Sorry to bother you, but your father needs help getting down the stairs again.”
Anybody know where I can get my hands on a flux-capacitor? How about a DeLorean…? Anybody…?