Changing of the Guard
I turned 40 last month. I refuse to consider myself middle-aged, but seeing as my mom turns 70 this year and I have a 7 year old son – I suppose you can think of me as middle-ish.
What’s weird about being in the middle is you start having a parental role for not only your child – but also with those who raised you, those who smacked your bottom when you were bad (back when they did such things), those who dried your tears, those who taught you pretty much everything about life starting from the birds and ending with the bees.
It’s a slow process, of course. First your mom will email and ask your opinion on something. And you will look at the screen and think, “Whoah. Did my MOM, the one who gave me her hand-me-down Chevette 20 years ago really ask me if I think this other such and such is a good deal?”
Next is a harder transition.
They get sick.
Recently my mom had major heart surgery, and if that wasn’t traumatic enough – they accidentally found lung cancer. Accidentally. Like they were spilling soup.
The good news is, she came through the surgery well, and the doctors are optimistic about the lung cancer. Although I tell ya, it feels weird to type the word optimistic and cancer in the same sentence.
Either way – our adventures of the past few months have certainly not made my mother an invalid, but in many ways – it has made her a spectator in the management of her own life. My sister has become the patient advocate, taking copious notes from many different doctor’s perspectives, relaying them to me and other family members, fighting with nurses when necessary to ensure the best care possible for our mother. I flew in to be the cheerleader, a role I continue to hold as the helpless daughter who lives across the country, but wants to support her mother in any way she can from afar. There is also my aunt, who is eerily close with mom – a confidant for every single person in the family. She weathers ALL our storms combined.
The point being?
That feeling – the shift in care-taking with your parents is not something I ever thought about nor was prepared for. It is another aspect to illness that can take over if you let it – the struggle of power between mother and daughter.
Luckily for me, my mother is riding the wave of her illness with grace, humor and a dash of feisty.
It certainly makes it easier for me to keep going in my role as cheerleader.
Speaking of, do you know Ze Frank? He is another cheerleader, and I thought about this song today, paired it up with thoughts of my mom, and it made me smile.
This is a song that I sing when I’m scared of something, I don’t why, but it helps me get over it.