Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No exchanges, no returns

I love my parents. When all of this happened to me they dropped their peaceful, retired lives and took over my chaotic, unpredictable mess. I should be the one caring for them, making sure they have what they need, and worrying about their health. Instead, my folks are taking care of me. Those first few weeks when I was drowning in one medical crisis after another must have been agonizing for them. Then, after I awoke, I was unable to care for myself and became their baby again.

Did I mention yet I love my parents? After my release from the hospital, my folks moved back to our family home and we began living together. Initially, life was frantic adjusting to my care. I needed constant assistance. As the months progressed and I grew stronger, I wanted - needed, some independence. Only I was - am still almost completely dependent on my parents. They cook, shop, clean, help me bathe, dress..basically everything. If I need to go anywhere they have to drive. They have given up their lives to nurse me back to health...and I feel like such an ungrateful brat for wanting them to leave me alone sometimes.

I love my Dad. Somewhere along the way he has become a semi-grouchy old man. I tell him that often. When we're driving in the car he constantly talks about the lack of driving skills displayed by the other drivers. I'm being polite. Usually he says stuff such as, "Look at that!! He's stupid - what's he doing? Did you see that? Did you? Stupid SOB drivers. No consideration. If he worked for me, I'd fire him." That's Dad's favorite closing line, "If he worked for me, I'd fire him." If we happen to be anywhere near a driver on the cell phone, Dad will add in a couple of "..damned stupid driver...what are you doing? Make up your mind! Are you gonna drive or yak on the damn phone!! If you worked for me, I'd fire you!!" And as we pass the ignorant soul driving and talking on the cell phone, Dad shoots the person a dirty look with a final parting, "Stupid!!" I've learned to close my eyes and find my happy place. At first I was sucked in by his comments or as he says, "I call it like I see it" philosophy but it was too much. There's so many inconsiderate drivers out there, all jockeying for the chance to piss off my Dad. I'm learning to fall asleep as soon as I get in the car because now Dad is making comments about drivers while we're still in the parking lot. "Get off my tail, buddy. I'm doing the speed limit. Back off. Stupid driver. Lady, who taught you how to drive? Didn't you see me coming? You just don't get in your car and start backing up. If you worked for me..."

I love my Mom. She is the strength for our family, the person we know will stay strong. Don't mess with my Mom if the family is involved. She's scary. I think my medical team has learned that behind her pleasant manner is a cobra. Mom will strike you down with one swift glance, quickly followed by that "tone". Having been on the receiving end of that "tone" many times during my life, I feel sorry for the unsuspecting strangers that run into it. Mom will simply glare and what she wants done, will be done. Mom is always ready with a suggestion or comment. I feel like a kid again. Mom likes to suggest what I should wear. In response, I have become a smartass - but in my mind only. I'm not an idiot. I have to pick my battles carefully. Listen to a 10 minute lecture about wasting money buying magazines or just get a subscription without telling them? I choose B. The coward's way out? You betcha!

I love my parents. The stress of caring for me is manifesting in different ways for each of my folks. There's nothing I can do except remember that these two wonderful people who have given up so much for me, continue to do so without asking for anything in return.


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