On Location from the Sandwich Generation

I’m blogging from Kaveh Kanes this morning. Yes I can procrastinate and avoid doing real work from just about anywhere. I’m talented like that.

I took my in-laws to St. Joseph’s this morning as my MIL is going through an outpatient surgical procedure. I’m chilling here until she’s done — not worth going to work just to have to turn around and come back.

Last night, my MIL decided she was having second thoughts and didn’t want to go through the procedure. Heidi was able to convince her to go anyway. She is in a lot of pain and this procedure should help reduce the pain and allow her to be more active if she wants to be. I really admire Heidi, but I don’t envy her. I was all nervous about getting them up and taking them down to a doctor’s visit that they at best were unsure about. But if it was in her best interest isn’t a little prodding appropriate?

That’s why I don’t envy my wife. She’s walking that line between letting her parents make their own decisions and looking out for their best interests. She’s turning into her parents’ parent and it’s hard. It’s hard to know when to be a pain in the ass trying to get them to do things to take care of themselves better and when to just let them live out their last years the way they want.

For instance, I’d love to get my father-in-law more involved in stuff outside the home, but who am I to say that sitting around and watching TV all day is a bad way to live? It’s not for me, but can I decide that for my elderly FIL? I know there are times when I am so tired and strung out that all I want to do is to be catatonic in front of some reruns on the tube. Maybe after seventy years of hard work that’s what they want to do too. Maybe he’s just waiting for an excuse, an invitation, made forcefully enough so that he knows I mean it and am not just being nice. And then again maybe he’d think I was nagging and would just wish I’d go the hell away. And if this is my angst, I gotta imagine Heidi’s is many fold more than mine.

Welcome to the Sandwich Generation. Sigh.

I’m planning for my old age. Girlzilla will be raised to know that taking care of family is just what you do. I am cultivating interests that I can keep up without having to be physically active. I plan to be an elderly, feisty, eccentric pain in the ass. My kids will know my wishes early. And I plan to cultivate a pro-active approach to my care. I want it to be really clear what my wishes would be when the time comes when my kids are starting to wonder whether they need to step up and be more parent-like towards me. And I plan to cultivate my faith more than anything. And buy some really wild pajamas to hang around in.

It’s gotta really really suck to be an adult all your life and see your abilities and faculties slipping away from you slowly. I ask for prayers for my inlaws, my wife, and everyone out there who is in the same situation.

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