Do you remember the first time you saw your parents cry?
I do. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time and I remember walking into my parents’ bedroom, only to find my mom tearing up about something. At the time, I didn’t know what she was crying about. And when asked today, she doesn’t really recall either, as she’s a quick to cry kind of person over something as small as an ASPCA commercial (a trait I get from her). But I do remember how it made me feel. For the first time, I realized my parents weren’t these mega superheroes I had built them up to be. Superhuman? Yes. But perfect, indestructible beings? No.
I suppose for a 6 year old, this was a heavy-handed epiphany, but in a way, it made me feel a bit relieved, perhaps. It made them more real to me in a sense — they had highs and lows, good days and bad days, and while no one ever likes seeing someone cry or experience any kind of pain or sadness (especially your parents), they’re all emotions we can relate to — because at the end of the day, we’re all human.
At this point, I’ll fast forward. To 31-year old me. I’m currently back at my childhood home in Reno. The past two weeks, which I’ve alluded to here in this post, have been a blur of hospital visits, doctor appointments, physical therapy sessions and the intermittent packing up of the house I spent the first 18 years of my life in. Why? Earlier this month, my mother had hip replacement surgery and, much like my 6-year old self, I didn’t want to see her in any pain or have to struggle with anything. So I stepped in. Because I could. Because I wanted to. Because my parents raised me to handle situations like this, for the ones we love most.
Of course, it hasn’t been easy. And I should say, on either of us, my mom or me (I have the fun task of packing up the house so she can downsize and move into a cute little apartment). But in all honesty, I think it’s been more difficult for her, as the parent, who’s so accustomed to being the one taking care of someone, that when the roles are reversed, it’s a hard adjustment.
It is equally as hard for me as her child to adjust to our new roles and I have found it hard to get into that new mindset of having to care for her instead. I’ve tried to handle the moving and downsizing situation as best as I can, but she was adamant about what she wanted to do. As she is getting a bit older now and may experience some health concerns down the line, I thought it would probably be better if she moved into an assisted living community, one that is similar to Kisco La Posada as some of them specialize in different aspects of healthcare, and then at least she would be in the right place should anything happen. Not only that but she would be able to socialize with different people who are a similar age and this would do wonders for her confidence. But she decided against it, which is fine. Even though I’m the one who is looking after her, it is important that I respect her needs as best as I can. But it’s been hard.