When I made the decision to not only have children but also to raise them myself, I took a lot of criticism from people who had no qualms about letting others raise their own kids. I never voiced my opinion about their decision to work full time and hire strangers to look after their children and I expected at least that much in return.
It’s funny how people view the same situation in such different ways.
Be that as it may, I consider myself lucky to have been able to devote all my attention to my sons and I never regretted that choice.
When I decided to take care of my aging parents I could do no less than that. My parents gave me life just as I gave life to my children. The choice was a no brainier. I am fortunate that, even in their eighties, both my parents are still in my life.
Loving and caring for someone is not a part time job – it’s a lifetime commitment.
Not that it’s been easy, by any means, but the benefits of this unique living arrangement far outweigh the difficulties we’ve endured. Living with and caring for elderly parents is not a choice to be made lightly. It may not be the right choice for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and a ton of patience but it can also be one of the most rewarding and selfless things you will ever do!
We all know about the concept of ‘paying it forward.’ Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of it or you initiated the action, it’s a positive phenomenon that can be a real game changer.
But it has its drawbacks, too.
The other day, while out shopping with my Dad, I let someone (with only two items in their hands) go ahead of me in the checkout line. Not only was he holding a place in line for someone else but that person eventually showed up with an entire full cart. Now, he could have explained that he was waiting for another person or he could have declined the offer but, instead, he pretty much guaranteed me never doing that again.
Another time, on the road, I let someone cut in front of me. One person inside of one car. As a result, an entire line of cars then proceeded to fly right through a stop sign (behind that one car) and try to squeeze in front of my car. Never again.
Yet another time I held open a door for a woman using a walker and also holding onto a dog’s leash. By the time I got to the elevator (after quickly checking my mail) she had already gotten into the elevator, closed the door and gone up to the top floor of the building – not even bothering to hold the door an extra second for me.
So, what’s the bottom line? Never go out of your way to help another human being? Only think of yourself in any and all situations? Do unto others… just don’t expect them to pay it forward (or back)? Or maybe it’s a simple case of nice guys DO finish last!
I’ve been given a unique opportunity to both care for my parents and also to discover a myriad of ways to control my anger/anxiety.
Yesterday, I found Dad pacing in his room. That wasn’t the scary part though. He was also yelling and placing blame for something that had just happened only, at the time, I wasn’t aware of what that was or why it had happened.
After talking to him (not quite as calmly as I would have liked at first) I was able to figure out the problem and solve it for him. Apparently, he had been painstakingly trying to shave his face for nearly 30 minutes and had gone through an entire pack of 12 disposable razors in the process. What he didn’t realize (due to his fading eyesight) was that the razors all had covers on them. This man who had once carried me around on his shoulders to keep me from scratching, during an agonizing bout with chickenpox (thanks to my brother), was now unable to see the tiny piece of plastic that was causing him so much misery.
Here’s where the yelling and blaming part comes in…
Apparently, when you get to this point in life, you feel like the world is against you so you blame anyone and everyone for your current situation. That said: “how can you possibly tell a man, who you’ve looked up to your entire life, that it’s his fault and his alone?”
The answer is: “you can’t.”
So, in an effort to exonerate everyone who had just been wrongly implicated in a conspiratorial incident I, instead, used some brain aerobic exercises and just dumped out the razors into the drawer with their covers off and hoped that no future fingers ended up with nasty razor cuts!