Yes, I am old. Older than I thought I would ever be in life. How did this happen? Just a few years back, I was in my twenties and now, near retirement in a few years. Soon, I will be reading up more and concentrating on Medicare and all that it has for me. Time. Where did it go? It went so fast.
As I look back over my life, a lot has happened, as I am sure with you also. Then as I look over my life and go through the memories, good and bad, no wonder I am exhausted at times. I am tired. Still, I have energy to do things, just not as fast. What I miss is being able to paint a room in hours but now it takes days and weeks, I do not rush. When I painted my bedroom a few years back, which is not huge but big enough, I learned to paint and just plop my mattress on the floor. Trimming is hard on this old body and my eyes, not to forget the steadiness of my hand. Oh well, soon it gets finished, and I vow never to do it again.
I am able to do stuff, as I am push mowing our yard with a bummed knee. Once I start, I am fine but if I sit down and take a break, give me some WD40 to get this old tinman/woman back up and at ’em. I am sure my neighbors see a lot of hobbling and grimaces on my face and maybe hear me either sing or comment out loud that I want a condo, forget this lawn work. If anything will push me to sell this house, it is the yard. Hiring a young man to do the back acre lot, he is pushing my buttons. The boy can spread mulch great but his weed eating skills, not so much. It is letting go of what I can no longer do and just be at peace with the weeds around my fence line, unless I do it myself. I have done just that, pay him and gone right behind him to fix areas to my satisfaction.
So, as days are rapidly escaping my calendar, I do seem to cherish life more being with friends and family, and I make my children more aware of my love and trust in them. It is time to keep them informed of what we have financially and where necessary paperwork is for when life is no more for us. It is an interesting role reversal as this takes place, but I do not want them to be in the dark as we have been with my in-laws. We knew nothing at the time of my father-in-law’s death just a couple of months ago. There comes a time when adult children need to know what’s what and know our wishes. Although, I have most of my funeral plans written out so it should be rather easy. If my husband is still living, there is strict instructions, he is NOT to put yellow roses on my casket. While I like yellow roses, they are not my favorite but apparently, he always thought they were because that is what I got whenever I did get flowers, early in our marriage. I still think it was an old girlfriend’s favorite that got stuck in his mind. I want pink roses!
Today, as I was with my adult children going to a family wedding, we were talking about some old paintball guns that I still have of theirs, which brought back their own young days in life. I laughed as I told them that I still have them. Then, stating you all will have fun when you go through all the stuff. Organized but stored away to hopefully bring them together to talk and laugh of all the fun they had and remember their old mom in the midst.
For now, I am enjoying my adult children and it is awesome to have a relationship with them in the present. I have truly been blessed with these boys and a daughter-in-law. Maybe another daughter-in-law to follow with built-in grandchildren. Now that will be an interesting twist, but I am looking forward to spoiling them.
Life sure has been interesting. I have been blessed and even in the midst of all my blessings, I have had some hard times and times of wanting to just throw my hands up and quit. I am so glad that I did not just give up but I pushed through. The Lord has truly been my strength in my weakness. He said He would never leave me nor forsake me, and He hasn’t. My time is running out but for now I am running with what gusto that I have left within this body.
Look forward, not backward and know that even though our time is running out, we still have time to live.
How do I parent an adult child? I am sure some would comment, you don’t. The child is an adult, making adult choices and decisions and does not need their mother meddling in their business. Correct!
Still, I am my child’s mother and always will be. Does that mean I can step in and control? Nope! Once their foot stepped out to leave for college, I knew my parenting was on the sideline. Mom was not there to pick up the dirty laundry, although that was brought back home when visiting but I enjoyed one last chance of them needing me. Plus, I like doing laundry. College is over, years now in their professions and doing well. A proud mom. Although, I feel less and less needed of not helping out by hanging curtains, painting, landscaping, cleaning, etc. I miss those times together as we worked together, so I must have taught them well.
To be honest, I have to fight the thoughts that they don’t want to be with me anymore and even worse, they don’t need me. Those thoughts, fears and the tears are just that, nothing more. I can choose to dwell there or know their life is busy, they enjoy my company, don’t need me as much and most importantly, I know they love me.
Letting go and the choices, decisions, their finances and places they chose was on them to deal with, good or bad. The friendships made, also some good and some bad. In time, they also would learn who was using them or were true friends. The late nights out or the studying never complete was on them. When they left for college, my saying to them was if you play, you will still have to pay, in one way or another. Thankfully, and proud mom moment, they both were always on the Dean’s List. My thinking with the play and pay was more in tuition, knowing they would regret.
It was over the years, my youngest has had to pay in other ways. Thankfully, he is independent, has too much trust in others and has a kind heart. He is a lot like me and I am unsure if that is good or bad. Do I say I am sorry or you are welcome?
I have seen my youngest pushed down time and time again being used and taken advantage of but still he bounces back up. The last few years, the bounce has been slower and depression set in. Several of his friends committed suicide, three in one year, that’s traumatic. Some of the choices he made were not wise but he has to deal with them and he has done just that, probably more than I know. Again, just like me, you deal with it. It will be years later when some of the stories come out and my system is not shocked as much. I am just now hearing about high school and some of the college stories, which I normally look at them and say, ‘You are grounded,’ and then we laugh. I do remember being young.
Letting Go of Worry
As their mother, I want to jump in and do this or that but my jumping in to help has to be minimal, more and more. They both need to figure life out on their own, responsibility and experience the bumps and bruises as they come, if so. I have always made sure they know I am here though.
I know that they know of such, especially my youngest again, because at 3:00 AM one morning, about a year ago, he calls in desperation and my heart dropped. He knew I would pray and he also knew I would stay on the phone until a peace was present. It was that time when he had a perfect opportunity to call upon the Lord, just him in an empty parking lot looking up at the sky filled with stars and his eyes filled with tears. As I mentioned this to him, he had a choice and perhaps he did but now he is running from what was said and promised to the Lord. I don’t know the outcome of those alone moments before he called or after we hung up but one day I will. I know I had to trust God like never before to hold him close and watch over him, being about four hours from home. I had to make a decision to get on the road and head toward West Virginia or stay, pray and trust the Lord. My bag was packed and I was on my way though.
Just to know, he made it back to his home fine, checking in with me. I truly believe after he drove down to work that afternoon and when work was over, he had a panic attack. He had time for it to settle and realized his life was spared from a horrific accident. Listening to him explain the car wreck on the highway and as he was trying to avoid her, by going in the other lane, he looks in the rear view mirror seeing a semi coming right at him. Saying he was able to keep control and move back over before being hit. The mind just imaging this play out, I was having a panic within but those prayers of protection over my child(ren) will always be prayed. He could not get the girl’s face of fear out of his mind, worrying if she lived or died. It all hit him, as it would any of us.
Not knowing how he was touched spiritually in that parking lot, I do remember being young and running from the Lord. I knew better but I did not want to serve the Lord. We all have had moments, I am sure. In my own situation, I had no peace or real joy and miserable until I totally surrendered my life of living for the Lord, as a Christian. I feel that is where he is now. He is miserable. He has a choice to make. He knows his mom prays and has told him time and time again that there is a calling upon his life. Satan will fight even more. As his mom, I will pray even more. Satan will not have my son, or my other son (and daughter-in-law). They all know of God, saved when young but not serving Him.
I have to trust, too, that being raised in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and us praying together, they know and I stand upon that God’s Word will not come back void. Their father and I dedicated their lives to the Lord and I expect nothing less.
My prayers for both of them were that the Lord would place Christians in their pathway to light the way with direction and be a witness, if just in their personal walk with the Lord. I know they would talk more freely with another than their mom, which I totally understand, I was the same.
My oldest, as he was first to leave the nest, I prayed for him to be friends with others of Christian backgrounds and that they would be influenced in that manner. His group of friends from start to finish in college are all still good friends today, in each other’s weddings. Now, the children are being born, but I also see them involved in church. This son, of course, is not like my other and needs to be treated differently. Lord, put Christians in his pathway to bring him to where he needs to be in his walk. I have watched this and it is exciting. Not exactly where I want him and his wife yet, involved in a church, but I’m patient. So is God. It is no accident that their house is right across the street of a large church. I now just pray that the right one will come, knock on their door and invite them to attend and go from there.
My prayer for my children and even myself, is to put Christians in our pathway of life to help us and to lead us in the right direction. We all need this, God’s Timing of the right place and the right person/people to bring us to where we need to be in life. Trust Him.
My youngest, my prayers for him is for safety, clarity of thought and mind, wisdom and as I see depression linger, that I bind the works of the enemy upon him. This one stretches my faith but I will stretch in order to see him saved and serving the Lord. He has a testimony and a way about him to help so many around him. His experiences in life will open doors to speak of what not to do. To share of how he got through this or that and what he learned in the middle of circumstances and of acquaintances that used him. It was not always others that caused the problems but he made some unwise decisions. Still, he came out on top. I feel the Lord has favor upon him. All I know to do and to be right now is BE STILL and know that I can trust God with my son, which is His son also.
Letting Go of Giving Advice
Having these boys increased my faith in God. I finally understood what love was all about with them being born and I cannot imagine life without them, how boring. A truly blessed mom here.
So, as they age and so do I, for some reason I long for their company which seems to be less and less as they have their own life. As they left for college, the empty-nest grief, I felt, but I sense it somewhat now, too. I don’t know where I fit in within their lives. My oldest being married, they have one another. My youngest will one day marry but he is alone. Perhaps it just me thinking he is alone, he’s probably just very busy in life. I miss our time together, I miss hanging the curtains, helping him with his out-of-control dirty laundry. He has it together. It’s his mother that is lost in an age of uncertainty. Sometimes wondering, ‘Am I Your Mother?’ Of course, I am and I always will be as my love and prayers will always be alive, even when I die. I certainly hope that they never had to or will ever have to question if they were loved.
Letting Go of Guilt-Tripping
The article attached is really good. I found it as I have pondered this parenting thing for a bit. Maybe it will help you or someone you know that struggles being a parent to adult children.
The reversal of roles between parents and children is such an odd place to be, but required. Knowing full well that while I am still the parent to my children, years and hopefully many years from now, they will be caring for me and making good decisions on my behalf.
I try to remember this today for the tomorrow. The situation we are being faced with is of my in-laws. Watching the gradual decline over the years, which seems to have increased this past year, even the past two months. As with the world, we have all had to limit contact with others due to Covid19. Even though, through the pandemic, we had to limit our time, we have always had to limit our contact and basically make an appointment to visit through the years that I have been in this family.
It’s the oddest thing. My father-in-law is a stubborn, old man and is and has been controlling with his attitude as well as being verbally abusive, if not emotionally abusive to my mother-in-law. I have often asked her when we get a few minutes without him hovering over her if he is ever physically abusive, which is always no, thankfully. I just hope. Through it all, she covers for him, also lives in denial about a lot within the family and is an enabler to him. If he is giving her a hard time or is being a grouch, she will say it is not a good day to visit, when we call, but thanks for calling. Goodbye.
If we do get the green light to visit, we ring the door bell and wait for their surprised masked faces we came to visit. They are just fine, nothing is wrong and so happy to see us. I have learned that having Aspergers, which runs in their family, the mask can only be on for so long. With her tied to this man, she has also learned the traits and follows along to keep him calm.
Around Christmas, I visited, a surprise visit. I was at the grocery store near their house, calling to test the waters but to see if they needed anything. In her happy, jovial voice saying come on over, I knew it was a good day. As I am in the grocery store, my cell phone rings and it is her, as she did need some things. How about that. Almost ready to check out, she calls again, he wants peppermint candy. Now the visit, to spy out the land and knowing it should be a short, nice visit.
Something had surely changed. Things were not as clean and neither were they. As I helped her put away what groceries she requested with some added treats, I knew they enjoyed, I was somewhat taken aback by it all. This is not good, not good at all. Apparently, not bathing is normal with age, dementia or Alzheimer’s or whatever we are facing. There is no need to even mention a doctor’s visit or anything outside of their four walls, as he would not approve, so she suffers, too.
Recently, since we were expecting a bad snow storm this past week, their son (my husband) and I both made a surprise visit, if allowed, only giving them about forty-five minutes to clean up their act, appearance, etc., which not happen. In just two months, they both have deteriorated and while her hair looked cleaner, it was matted down. How can that be? He was looking like a mad man sitting there, now with long hair and a beard commenting he cannot see. I had never seen this man with a beard or looking so disheveled. The house was not clean but it was not nasty, yet. Things are slipping.
Again, no need to mention an eye appointment or a hair appointment, it’s not worth getting him all riled up and kicking us out, which has happened with the older son.
Their son, my husband, was just over there two nights before because they were not answering their phone. The mind can only think the worst in that situation. The phone was unplugged and neither had a clue how that happened. Plus, forgetting he was over.
Also, the toilet was clogged the day we both stopped in, so he fixes it while I am listening to both of them blame the other for that problem. In my mind, I’m thinking it had to be one of you, while quietly laughing to myself as this played out. You did it! No, you did it! At least through all the chaos around me while visiting, it was entertaining, even though so sad.
With the groceries and a hot pizza we brought, I again helped her put things away but then I stood back and watched her again. The lady was lost. Not even knowing what to do with paper towels or what to put the pizza on to serve him. I hesitated while watching her stand in the unknown of her mind and I said, a plate. Immediately, she looks at me and smiles with a wink and says, yes a paper plate. For a moment, with the smile and a wink, she returned, as that was my sweet mother-in-law. Gone again within minutes, staring at the pizza.
I mentioned her sister, the church, the pastor and various topics in our time together with nothing to follow, just a look. I really don’t think she remembers any of them. Repeating often of the weather and snow storm, as that was of interest to him. Many times, she would chime in with, “Are we going to get snow?” The repeating did not bother me, as I went through this with my own mom. It’s the fact of how far she had gone downhill, so quickly, in two months.
While I don’t do this out of disrespect but of record, as I did with my aunt while in the nursing home, I put my cellphone on silent and snap pics, in an indiscreet way, they never knew. I feel more than ever, it is time to keep track of their health and well-being. This year will be one of decisions for their three sons to make, although it will all fall upon my husband, their middle son, and myself. Knowing he will put it on me. I need to be ready to state my case when it comes to some immediate things, like taking the car keys away from her, hiding her keys or letting air out of a tire or disconnect the car battery. Yes, she still drives, but only to the grocery store, which is near. Still, that’s dangerous now, with the thought of seeing their photo on the local news as a missing couple.
The sons think they are fine, just getting older. True! They did years ago, when trying to convince them, we have a problem developing. I think the whole family lives in denial.
When leaving, I am holding my phone in a direction to snap a pic of her while talking about the snow storm again. Even in the freezing temperature, she walks out on the porch to say goodbye. She does that because she knows that task still. My pic of her when I got home and look at it, she is lost. There is nothing alert in her facial appearance standing before me, the eyes are dim, somewhat fixed, as nobody’s home. A total hopelessness over the years have taken her over. Now what do we do? How do I direct their son(s) in the next phase?
The lady in this pic has more life in her eyes than what I saw in my mother-in-law. The strong one caring for her husband is becoming non-existent. I could and can deal with her, I don’t know if I can deal with my father-in-law. Help me Jesus!
Sitting at the kitchen table, I see bills and their checkbook, wondering if she is even capable of continuing this task. Nothing has been set up for a son or sons to be in charge of such financial business for household or medical circumstances, unsure of benefits when they pass or what are we are up against. They are and have always been private, his control and being so stubborn. It was hopeful to ask her but now that is gone, we lost the window of opportunity. When the inevitable happens or even a medical emergency, we will be scrambling to locate paperwork. It is coming, too fast and too soon.
His mom is an empty shell. So sad, as the words she spoke to me just ten years ago, after her retirement; soon after being held as a prisoner in her own home by him, saying, “This was not what I was expecting.” She felt hopeless back then and in all of those years, now hopelessness is so visible, she has given up as she is just a shell of a woman.
Thanks for reading. Any input is welcome if you have experience in a situation, as such. ML
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. … Instead, we have to trust in God. But the point is clear: as parents got older and are no longer able to provide or care for themselves, the responsibility is passed to the children.