If anyone lives long enough their role in life changes. The baby becomes a crawler, boys become teens, and then sooner or later they move out (hopefully…or not?). Today was a day where I had to take care of my parents.
It wasn’t that big a deal, as these things go. One parent had a routine procedure leading to an overnight stay, and I was needed to drive the other parent home. I made sure a good meal was had along the way, and a nice visit was enjoyed while taking care of business. However, as easy as it was today, I know it is going to get harder as time goes on. It is very possible that sooner or later the child has to take over as parent, and I’m not looking forward to it.
Who will pay the bills? Who will make sure the dietary needs are met? Who will take care of the house, knowing that neither of my parents wants to sell and move to a more manageable place? I suspect it will be me, or me and my siblings, which in some ways is even scarier.
Thinking of these things during the day led to a frank discussion with my mom, which actually turned out to be a good thing. We talked about some options for how and where she would live if something happened to dad, hypothetically speaking, and she gave me some ideas on what she would like to do. Most importantly, I got a chance to reassure her: you will be taken care of. You will not be forgotten, or abandoned, or discarded. I think that meant more to her than anything else that happened the rest of the day.
Children, one day you will have to make some decisions that may not be pleasant. You owe it to your parents to have these discussions now, out of the line of fire, with your parents while they have a presence of mind about them. Trust me, it will be much harder to ask later.