I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a pack rat. I don’t know why throwing anything away is so hard for me, but there it is. Every once in a while, I need help. This past week end, I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and since it was her weekend off work, asked my daughter to please come and clean/clear out my office.
She decided she’d do the deed on Sunday. There was a reason for that. She knew I had to go into the city to the nursing office. Then my beloved and I planned to have lunch out before we went grocery shopping. Those chores on the agenda guaranteed that we would be gone while she got a good start on the job.
Two days before the appointed day, when she was here, I started to tell her about how I wanted a few things to be arranged...and she told me to hush. “You’ve asked for my help. Now you must let go and let me help.” My response to that—aside from calling her a cheeky wench—was to wait until she left. Then I sorted through what was in my immediate work area, and took care of everything in that small space. I could live with her arranging the bookshelves, and completely replacing the one small bookshelf that I used for sundry items (our unopened boxes of coffee pods for the Keurig and my entire liquor supply—a small collection of bottles, most of which are several years old).
I wasn’t the only one being ordered about. Our daughter told my husband he must put together the unopened wooden shelf kit so that she could install it in place of the somewhat bowing one that had been there for a couple of years and that she intended to replace.
I let my daughter see that I was somewhat concerned when she arrived Sunday morning, and the first thing she did was to open the contractor-sized garbage bag she brought with her and grin like a maniac. I was going to ask her to use the recycling bin when possible, but I knew what that request would net me. She’d do what she liked, regardless. I wasn’t really worried that she would throw out anything important. She has a pretty good sense of what I want/need and what I don’t.
My daughter and I pretty much see eye to eye on most things. There is, however, one area in which we do not agree, and I would say the fact this is so, was inevitable.
I know my daughter believes that she and I are making “the transition”. Those of you who are in your thirties or forties with elderly parents know what I’m talking about. There comes a point, if you’re fortunate enough to have your parents still alive as you move into your middle years, when you begin to assume some responsibility for them. As they age and their faculties begin to wane, you begin to do little things to help them. You check on them and see to it that they’re well. Maybe you make sure of their medical appointment schedule, get them there, or make sure their medications are up to date. You check the fridge to see that they have the food necessary to eat healthy meals.
And as you perform these services it almost seems as if you become the parent to your parent who’s now like your child. That’s what I call the transition.
That’s where my daughter’s mind set is heading and all I can say to that is a good, old-fashioned Southern “bless her heart”.
Yes, I’m 61. Do I have trouble walking? Oh, you bet I do. Every step is a challenge especially right now, as I begin to work at regaining my stamina after three weeks of being less mobile than usual because of my surgery. But do my physical limitations translate into metal or intellectual feebleness?
My daughter does have a good heart. She works as a nurse’s aide. She gives to her clients in the community—most of them elderly—and often to a degree that is above and beyond expectations. There have been a few in the local nursing home who don’t have family visiting them, and she makes sure they have a gift at Christmas—and yes, it comes out of her own pocket.
I am sure that when the time eventually comes for me to have someone “supervise” me, she’ll do a really good job.
But that day is far from now. In the meantime, I am happy to have her work for a day cleaning, clearing, and feeling superior as long as at the end of the day, things are easier for me to manage.