Growing Up, Growing Down: From Eight to Seventy-Eight.

I am raising two children (eight and sixteen), while trying to cope with my mother (MAG) who is currently growing down. Strange term, I know, far stranger is the day-to-day of it. It was surreal the day I connected a parallel between events happening with my children and MAG.

I remember when we moved MAG from her old place to her recent abode. She had to stay with us a few weeks before her new place was ready. When it came time for me to take her to her new place, she was afraid – she didn’t want to go. She was crying; she was scared. She kept finding reasons not to leave my home. When I finally got her outside, before she got into my car, she asked to spend the night one last time – she told me she would leave tomorrow. My son is sixteen and although his timeline hasn’t arrived for such an event, in this distorted timeline, I was the mother, comforting a child who wasn’t ready to leave home. I was the one armed with the knowledge that things would be okay.

MAG has been settled in her home for several years now and even though she asks to spend the night as often as she can, she is doing okay in her apartment (a quick five minute drive from my home). Not long ago, my family was grocery shopping and there was a clown outside the store. MAG was so happy to see the clown, she begged for us to stop for a bit. My husband is leery of folks and chose not to indulge MAG, but this event shed significant light on my mother’s zeal and excitement for childhood treats. The last time my sister came to visit, she asked MAG where she would like to go. MAG said, “The Zoo,” so off they went.

These parallels have complicated making hard decisions for my mother. The primary one is her desire to live out her remaining days in the apartment she was so afraid to enter. We have had several hiccups during her residency, including flooding, break-ins, and extended hospital stays. My initial reaction is always to uproot her and place her into a facility offering skilled nursing and/or assisted living, but she begs me not to. Thankfully, her group of support extends farther than yours truly. She has a slew of doctors (including one that told our family she had three days to live – approximately thirteen years ago), another daughter and my husband, who happens to take better care of my mother than her own son. Collectively, we determined that MAG’s childlike zeal for life would be crushed by restricting her freedom and uprooting her, so we weigh the risks, one event at a time.

Things are okay this week. I haven’t received any telephone calls enlightening me otherwise. In fact, she called me while writing this blog entry. MAG wanted to know when I was going to take her to the movies again. I had previously planned a day for us, so I shared it with her: We can attend church together on Sunday and then we can have brunch and/or go to the movies. I will let you know how our day goes . . .

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