Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Role Reversal

Mindy here. When I was a little girl and we'd go on vacation, my mom would pack my suitcase. Many times I didn't even know what was in it until we got to our destination. It felt like Christmas when I'd pull out a new bathing suit.

Now my mother is getting ready to go visit a friend she hasn't seen in nine years and guess who's packing her suitcase?

You guessed it. I am now the mother and she is the child.

Deep inside, I've known this for a while, but I've fought it. Been in denial. But as I did her laundry the other day, I realized--like it or not--the time had come for me to accept the change in roles.

Perhaps the acceptance will diminish my frustration. Instead of wondering why she hasn't done certain tasks, I will step in a do them for her. My life is hurry-hurry, while hers is a snail's-pace, forcing me to put on the brakes. Something that doesn't come naturally. But then, how many times did she have to wait on me? You know, the independent three-year-old who demands, "I do it!" when you're late for an appointment.

So I will adapt. Slow my pace to meet hers and do my best to be patient as I wonder how my kids will react when it's their turn to switch roles.

Have you had to accept the role reversal of your parents? Was it difficult for you to make the switch? What helped you to adjust?

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

8 comments:

  1. Mindy, I understand. I'm almost 7 hours from my parents, so I don't fill that role often. But I noticed it heading that direction when I drove up to KY to fly with my mother to my son's graduation in NC. I had to stay on top of things while traveling (like her meds, etc). But for now, she and my dad are still independent at home. I know the time is coming though...

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  2. I definitely was in that role for 7 years with my mom. Her situation was compounded by severe mental illness. It became my role when I was 12 years old. Then I ran hard and as far away as I could when I turned 18. I couldn't take the mental illness. But when she disappeared on the streets of Denver, I had to pick up that mantle again and help her. Luck had run out in her life. She couldn't skate on the goodwill of others any more and my duties as daughter had to kick back in. So when she was 57 and I was 36, I took on that role of parent with a demanding child. In her mind, she was often a very demanding toddler. But she dealt with mental terrors I hope no one else ever has to experience. Finally, when she was 64, the Lord gathered her up in his arms. I'm eternally grateful the Lord let me have one moment to see her cry out for Him and say, "I love you, Jesus." Now I know I will see her as a whole person one day. That hope makes it all worth while.
    Angie

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  3. My sisters and I can relate to what you both said.
    In 10 days we will be taking our mom to a home for people who have Alzheimer's.
    Our emotions are swinging all over the place.
    The one thing that is keeping us from falling apart are all the prayers going up on our behalf.
    Janet.

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  4. Janet, I just said a prayer for your mom, you and your sister.

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  5. I think the one thing I can point to that helped me through those 7 years with my mom would be the team that rallied around me. Those prayers, Janet, are golden :) Saying some for you. Don't be afraid to build a friendship network around you and your sisters who will help support you all emotionally through the time to come.
    Angie

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  6. Missy, it's one of those things that inevitable, yet we still don't like to see it come, do we? Shifting those roles is hard.

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  7. Angie, I can only imagine how you felt as a young girl having that thrust upon you. I'm glad you had that precious time with your mother and that you know you'll see her again.

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  8. Janet, my heart goes out to you and your sisters. Praying God will give you strength and wisdom as you face the challenges ahead. Hang onto your faith.

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