Not everyone gets to be there for their parents
There are first world problems and third world problems. Third world problems are the kind that have to do with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – the basic needs for survival. First world problems often have to do with convenience. It is both convenient and inconvenient to welcome a parent into your home.
First of all, if the parent is far away and there are financial or health problems, the adult children worry and often have to make triage type decisions to address problems. Triaging conflict can mean disruption of work, home life, emotional securing and uncertainty. Over time, triage brings havoc into family life. There is a point when moving the parent is the solution to the ongoing, unsustainable triage efforts.
Secondly, it is also a decision based on need and resources. Some parents have such enormous health needs that require placement in a facility. I have not had to make that decision. I imagine it is a hard and requires researching facilities and spending large sums of money. If the need is great, the resources will be great too. In mom’s situation it made sense to move her here where several family members reside (my house). She can keep her dogs. She can see some of her grandkids and soon, one of her great-grandkids. Although I am home with my own health needs, I can manage her meds and get her to her appointments.
Not everyone gets to be there for their parents. Many people do not have the room or resource to bring mom or dad into the home. Guilt and inadequacy can build up for not being able to do enough. Resentment and tension can build for doing too much. Being there for the parent is hard. However hard it is, it is also rewarding.
I am emotionally close to mom. Understanding her hopes, fears and joy also helps me understand myself. It makes me grow as a person. I have to be patient. I have to try and see her world according to her instead of the world according to me. I can also appreciate the arc of adulthood. I was in her house, I left her house to become myself, she is in my house. There are a lot of rough edges and messes in the trajectory of the arc.
Sometimes the world is as thick as the grease on the feet of the rats that dine on the underbelly of Las Vegas. Other times, it is just hilarious, ribald fun. Sometimes the world shatters into myriad shards and the shards fall around me. Sometimes her world is a world of mirrors in a carnival car called Dementia.
I love my mother and my family and I am grateful that mom is still around, even with all her character.