My parents live a half mile from me. This short distance was by design: when we moved them here, we chose the best, close nursing facility so that I’d be able to see them often.
And in the days before COVID-19, I visited them every day. Now, I can only see my mom a few days a week (outside), but I still manage to see my dad most days (also outside, but he has more leeway since he’s not in the memory care portion of the facility). My point is that I see my parents—often. And sometimes, although I feel seeing them as much as I can is the right thing to do, such a thing exists as too often.
Wait. Did you just say that? you ask. Yes, I did, and I’m not going to apologize for it. The last five years or so with my parents have been stressful, to say the least. (If you want to know how stressful, go back to this post of June 2015, when I’d just about had it. Better yet, read the posts from the entire summer of 2015, and you’ll see where I’m coming from.) And just when I thought we’d reached a better place by moving them here (and really, we have), COVID hit. So now when I see my dad, as happy as he is that Mom is doing great, he complains.
I don’t like the food.
If I could get out of here, I would.
I wish I had my car.
These people are old.
That last one never fails to make me laugh, as my dad just turned 85 in August. So yeah, Dad, the people are old. But so are you! (He usually just looks away when I respond with that one.)
Lately, I’ve decided that being honest isn’t enough with Dad, so I’ve turned to being brutally honest. When he says he’s bored or that he wants to leave, I mention that the six of us feel the same way. That in part we’re tied to our house because we’re trying to keep him and Mom safe. And that if he and Mom hadn’t moved, it is quite possible my mother would no longer be with us.
The first time I said that to him, he turned to me, his face slack. He wasn’t angry, just thinking. And in a moment, his response surfaced: “I think you’re right.”
Of course I was right. Mom hadn’t been getting the care she needed. The former place she lived wasn’t the proper place for her. They didn’t care for her well-being and happiness; they didn’t bother with her cleanliness; they didn’t even see to it that she ate properly. To this day I’m convinced Mom would have withered away due to malnutrition if we hadn’t moved her.
And that’s part of why I try to see her as much as I can. But again, back to the concept of too often: I haven’t seen my parents this much since I lived in their home—back in 1991! Going from seeing your folks every few months to every day when you have four kids, animals, a job, and now COVID-related restrictions . . . that’s a lot to take on. The stress is increasing, and like I’ve said before, I’m in a tenuous place. A place that could be ameliorated if only I found some time to write.
So, much like in 2015, I need to begin prioritizing my time. How much time belongs to the kids? The parents? Tim? Myself? When will I sit and revise my next WIP (the one I’m choosing to revise is the draft I wrote after that infamous summer)? Because if I figured one thing out in 2015, it’s that despite all the crap that hits the fan, if I’m writing (or running), I’m a happy person. I have the running routine down. Now, I just need to get back into the writing routine.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Image of planner by hudsoncrafted at Pixabay.com.