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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parenting Your Parents: When Roles Change Part I

written by Lisa Stewart (my mother)

(Thats Mom with Daylan when he was a baby)

I've been ask to compose an account of true life events which currently spans to date almost ten years. My name is Lisa and my story is best started with a question "how many of us mom can truly say that we are moms exclusively"? Most of us are fully expected to perform multiple roles and still maintain an outward appearance like everything is fine. I'm the youngest of six girls who grow up in the Midwest the Bible belt if you will. I completed high school early and went on immediately to college (I could hardly wait to get life started on my own terms) and that’s just what I did. I wasn’t planning it but just two years later at nineteen I met the most wonderful man and got married after only going on one date and thirty years later I'm still waking up next to that same man ( so either God is good or he's really mad at me....it just depends on the day).

Back to my story I set goals for myself and for my little family. Complete college, buy everything under the sun, do everything under the sun, and start a family it all sounds like a neat and easy package right....WRONG. Here is what really happened,; I finished college alright twice as a matter of fact one degree in Psychology and later another in Occupational Therapy both would later serve me well as my life unfolded, we bought our first home and two weeks later had our first and only child (I decided I did not look that great from my vantage point in the large round mirror in the delivery room). My mother "granny" was so happy her last daughter had entered the world of motherhood.

My mother was forty-one when she had me (she always said I was her "going through the change baby") and she was sixty-eight or nine by the time I married and in her early seventies when my baby was born so go figure. The new baby seemed to give my mom a new found energy she was so attentive. Mom was so accustomed to care giving she had helped with her younger sisters and brother, raised all of her children, and even raised two grandkids, and helped raise a couple more. She was a financial guru even thought she had never formally completed high school. An education was viewed as a woman’s means of staking her real independence. Mother preached "better to be with someone because you want to be than because you have to be... it just makes for a more enriched relationship"), our father died of a massive heart attack at eighty-nine and even though they had divorced over 20 something years ago she choose never to remarry.

As noted earlier my mom was already up in age and by the time I married and had my first child. Now embarking on a new career was exciting and like I said I had a plan for myself and little family or so I thought 12 years after buying our first home we had finally arrived at a point that we were in a position to consider building a house. This was back in the day when you could actually sell your house and move on (not so easy today), we actually sold our house and had to move out just weeks before Christmas (no tree would go up that year) and the home we were building would not be completed for another two or three months (we were actually homeless...wow), we moved in with my mom and waited and waited. Once we were in our home mom was so proud of us for taking on such a task and she enjoyed driving out to see us often. It was on one of these drives; which she had done several times in the past that she got lost and had to have a police officer escort her back to her home. I still recall the distress call she made telling me in tears how upset she was that she "got all tangled up" her voice was a combination of a person feeling frighten and embarrassed all at the same time otherwise she seemed fine and we all quickly just blew it off. Little did we know this was just the beginning.


Mellisa Rock said...

This I can tell is going to be a great series - so glad that we are on the same tribe so that I can follow along and learn from it. While my parents are still fairly young - Hubby's are aging rapidly.

Danielle said...

Its really something we rarely think about. As moms we spend our time worrying about our kids but we never think that one day we could be playing guardian to our own parents.

ThatArmyWife said...

It's such a tough topic. We dealt with some of that with my granfather- he was so independent he didn't let anyone see how much he was struggling until it got quite bad.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

My parents are in their early 70's and 1000 miles away. I live in fear of when they will need me.

Anonymous said...

god is good. Stay tone and encourage others to follow.

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