As an only child, it’s my responsibility to take care of my parents the older they get. Last year, I got a little taste of what that would be like. Both my parents ended up staying with me, separately and together, for some time in my small two bedroom apartment. My father got sick and was afraid to be by himself, and my mother’s living situation was no longer habitable (it still isn’t). My parents have been legally separated since I was three so it was a packed (and awkward) apartment in Astoria!
It was a bit rough, but it had its beautiful moments. I was lucky enough to be unemployed at the time, concentrating on Grad School, and was able to be home to look after them. I never lived with my Dad, so I had to get used to his quirky ways. I also had to get used to cooking for four and abiding by everyone’s food preferences. Trying to respect everyone’s personal space and routines was hard, but we made it work.
One of the positive things that came out of it, looking back, was that I had the tough talks with my parents and got the 411 on wills, health proxies and power of attorney. I witnessed how vulnerable they could be. We generally look at our parents as the strong ones, the people we go to when we are weak. It was hard for me to see them that way but it was also eye-opening. I had to be the strong one this time, and I will have to be in the future.
Another positive thing was that I started helping them improve their living situations. None of us are great at keeping things neat, but both my parents are hoarders. My mom is the worse of the two! Last year, I helped my dad clean out his place and get new furniture. I also did a major clean-up job in my mom’s kitchen. It’s wasn’t enough, and there was so much to do that I convinced her to move in with my dad until we get everything sorted. So now my parents are living together. After them living separately for 33 years, I’m so proud of them for making it work.
One of my main goals for 2018 is to clean up my place, continue cleaning my Dad’s and cleaning my Mom’s place. I want us to live clutter free. It is true when they say clutter causes stress! I also want to begin collecting all the important financial documents and having access to everything I need just in case. This means continuing to have those tough, awkward talks. Most importantly I want to spend more quality time with my parents. I def. take them for granted.
Here is a pic of my lovely parents <3!