Welcome to my world!
My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The kiddo and I had a difficult summer. Butted heads constantly. I'm told that's normal. That kids do that to prepare themselves for the separation from their parents. And since I've always been the disciplinarian, the conflict was intensified. So I'll just put it out there. When we drove him to Chapel Hill at the end of August, I wasn't sad. I had an overwhelming sense of relief. I was excited about living on my own for the first time in my life. No longer was my primary identity that of a mother. I could eat peanut butter sandwiches every night. No one was carping at me when we were out of milk or juice.
All of a sudden, I had SO much free time. My laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and other household duties were a fraction of what they'd been. My stress level tailed off considerably. I had my life back. It was all about me for a change. And I loved it. This beautiful existence lasted about two weeks.
Then mother got sick. She called me one day and asked me to take her to the hospital. I knew it was bad. She never called me - she waited for me to call her. She always said she knew how busy I was and that she didn't want to bother me. That fierce independence. Her health had declined drastically since her diagnosis of emphysema three years earlier. But she never wanted to be a bother.
I asked her what was going on and she said had been throwing up for several days and couldn't even keep water down. She was weak and dizzy and had trouble walking without her knees buckling. She was afraid. Needed me to get her and take her to the hospital. The blood drained from my head and I asked her if she needed to call 9-1-1. She said no. I got to their house 15 minutes later and she was sitting at the kitchen table in her pajamas and robe, ready to go. Daddy and I had to practically carry her to my car. Daddy stayed home. We did the whole ER thing and spent forever waiting before we got admitted.
Fast forward one month. On October 21st, Mother died and my life drastically changed. Permanently.
All of a sudden, my I went from a happy independent woman whose world was her oyster, to being a mom again. To The D. Even though this blog focuses on Daddy's toddler tendencies, there's plenty of teenager in there, too. A wise person once told me that the toddler years are God's way of preparing you for a teenager. The struggle for independence. It's so true. And suddenly Daddy was dependent on me. Not mother. No way could I measure up. It's natural that he took his anger out on me.
But I shifted into maternal mode. I put his needs ahead of my own. I worried about him. Took him to the doctor. I fixed his meals. Put up with his temper tantrums. I don't know how I had the strength to do this, but somehow I managed. Actually, I DO know. It was because of the legacy Mother had left me. She always put our needs ahead of her own.
Add to that the fact that my husband and I had separated a year earlier and our divorce was final just a few months earlier. Talk about transitions.
So here we are, almost four months later. We made it through the dark days of winter. The horrible holidays. We survived. At times I wasn't so sure we would.
Yesterday, at the thrift store, I ran across a very used, very old, oxygen concentrator. It's a huge machine that takes in air and concentrates the oxygen. Mother had one. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. Grief overwhelmed me. I still have miles of oxygen tubing in my laundry room. Maybe moving will force me to face these reminders of her and purge the ones that make me sad.
Then this morning when I got up, I was wearing her soft flannel nightgown. When I put my phone in the pocket, it was like a vision of mother putting something in that very pocket. Somehow, the way I moved mirrored her movements. She loved pajamas and robes with pockets. Hard to find. I wear her gowns and pajamas every night. Is that healthy? It's comforting. Maybe I'll be able to let go of that sometime soon. Not worried about it at the moment.
The D was so excited that Kiddo was coming. He ran to the back door when he and his dad arrived. Had a big smile on his face. Kiddo hugged him (I hate the whole handshake thing between men and their fathers and grandfathers.) Please. You're not a business associate.
So, for one week, I have my original kiddo back. He was good training for The D gig. But after the 30 minutes or so we spent together before he headed out to the weight room at school, he wasn't my kid anymore. He asked me what groceries I needed and said he'd stop on the way home for the things I'd forgotten to get. I asked him to get his dirty clothes together and he said they were clean. He told me the house looked nice. He liked the skunk chair, but I don't think he got a whiff of it.
He asked me if I'd been cooking much lately, and I told him I had, indeed. Almost every night. He asked me if I'd cook for him tonight. He asked me what I had and we settled on flounder from the freezer. He asked if I could make mashed potatoes and happily I had a big bag. Steamed broccoli. He was happy with that.
What happened to the rude, obnoxious teenager who was impossible to please? Give him two days, and he'll be back, I'm sure. But in the meantime, I'm blissfully happy. I don't expect it to last, but I'll enjoy it while it does...
Posted by Carol at 4:15 PM