So it begins

2017 is DONE!!! The holidays were busy like they always are but they were good, too. And very happy - our daughter is engaged! The next year is going to be a full one with lots of wonderful things to look forward to.

I’ve written several pages trying to get back into the swing of normalcy. When I went back to read what I’ve written and to choose my next blog post, I noticed one main theme - negativity. That’s not who I am or, at the least, whom I want to be. And it’s certainly not why I’m writing this. I've tried to reframe my thoughts but I'm not sure of my level of success.

I have so much to be thankful for; my family, my friends, and some very wonderful people who make my life so much brighter than it would be without them. I smile more than I think I ever have and I’m so grateful for what we’ve accomplished. It hasn’t been easy, but from where we are now it’s been worth it.

But along with all the good things, there will always be a few struggles. I’ve found there’s a lot of guilt that comes along with taking care of a parent, no matter what the reason is. There are days when I’m just tired, or over-scheduled, or have a big case of the “I-don’t-want-tos”. I feel better knowing she’s ok and she’s still mostly pleasant, but lately there’s been more odd behavior and a lot more confusion. For example: she’s forgotten how to turn her heat on so then she complains that she’s cold and I find her wearing two jackets. She’s also forgotten how to turn it off so her room gets too warm and she turns on her floor fan to cool it down. It’s a simple switch - turn it clockwise for low, medium, or high and turn it the other way to turn it off - but she just can’t remember how to work it. I marked “low” and “off” with a dot of hot pink nail polish. Time will tell if it works or it’s just a pretty little decoration.

Update: it doesn’t work.

I was talking with a friend of mine about how frustrating (that may be too strong of a word) it can be when you do so much for your parent and they forget or don’t acknowledge what you’ve done; not because they’re ungrateful, they’re just not capable of seeing beyond their own scope. The time spent visiting with them; the time spent away from work, family and friends, and the time spent being concerned over stuff you have no control of - it can be overwhelming. Exhausting. And money. There’s always the money thing to worry about. Every year, mom’s rates go up. Not by a whole lot, but we’re getting close to a monthly amount I’m not very comfortable with. It’s just tough. Not horrible by any means but it’s all relative, isn’t it?

You’d think that eventually I’d adapt but who I am tends to fight against that. I have a few personality traits I’m not particularly proud of but they were born out of necessity and I’ve had years to perfect them. I’m hyper-vigilant and prone to over-analyzing. I also try to think of all the things that could go wrong so that I’m prepared when they do - which is a load of BS because that’s not how the world works but, tell my emotional side that. My hypervigilance and my “list all the things that could go wrong” superpowers have been on full throttle for the last four years, ever since mom moved here. I’ve learned to quiet them down but they’re always humming along in the background.

I understand what is happening to mom is out of my control. But it doesn’t stop me from wondering what’s next or when the next weird thing is going to happen. The behavior changes - the latest one,  I just can't wrap my head around. How do you forget to do something you’ve been doing without thinking for at least 76 years?? There isn’t an answer to any of it which is so frustrating. How cool would it be if I could just roll with the changes? (Hey there, REO Speedwagon) I know new things are going to pop up and my mom isn’t going to get better but I don’t know how to just shrug my shoulders, live in the moment, and move along. I don’t think it’s possible.