Why does anyone write a blog? It's a question I ask sometimes. Why would anyone find comfort or familiarity to my story? Maybe it's because we are all at home wondering if we are doing this right. Maybe when you secretly dare to think about being a single person and having a kid, nothing else in your life supports that crazy thought but there's that blog from that lady who is doing it. I don't know, but it's OK. I gain some perspective in the writing of it just to articulate my thoughts about what is happening. So, thank you.
My life is taking a new turn this month. I am gaining membership to a new group - the sandwich generation. I have a young child and in a few weeks, my Dad will be returning to town to live in Independent Living. I will not be his caretaker, per se. He will live in a place where others will check on him daily. His meals will be prepared and his place cleaned. I will stop by regularly to ensure that things are going OK and take responsibility for his medicines.
Before I go further, I need to explain a bit about me. I know how to put my head down and get lots of work done. I wake up early and stay up late to work multiple jobs and go to school to make my household run. Honestly though, sometimes I get overwhelmed by my life. I can't fit enough hours behind the computer, my son is complaining because he wants more time with me and our finances are super tight. I worry, I cry, I become distant, I freak out a little, then I am OK. I give myself the space I need then I return. Typically after a night of worry and panic, I go to bed early and run on the treadmill the next morning. After that, the world seems more approachable. What's required of me seems less and manageable. I say no with confidence and streamline as much as I can. That's how my world turns.
When I learned that my Dad wanted to move cross-country back to my town, I freaked out a lot. It all seemed too much. How can I make sure that he is OK and my son is OK? Every minute of my day seems planned already and nothing is just for me. How am I going to handle this new layer? (Insert the above paragraph here.)
I am on the other side of my freak out. Thanks to the kindness of my friends, I have found almost enough furniture for this apartment, a truck, moving help and babysitting for my son during move-in day. My Dad will come to town the day after I return from a work trip out of the country so his apartment has to be ready before I leave.
He will have new responsibilities for himself - cleaning his clothes, taking his medication without a nurse reminding him, keeping his place clean, and reaching out to his local friends for social activities. Graduate school for me will have to go on hold for the spring semester. My son and I will add regular weekly visits to see my Dad to our calendar. Today, I just have to do today. Then, tomorrow, I will do that day.
So, now I'm a single mom sandwich who has a lot on her plate but the ability to pull it through today. Thanks for listening to me.
You know that thing that kids do. They act up. You call them on the bad behavior. They stop, You look away then back at them a few seconds later to see the bad behavior continue with a smile on the child's face. You do, don't you?
He's four. He's four. As I try to calm myself and say, "He's four". My boy is articulate, kind and full of energy. He also make bad choices at times. Some people call it testing, kids test the boundaries of how far they can go. I understand that he will grow out of it and he is displaying the antics of someone strong of will. I get it.
But, some days, it wears me down. It's too much. Today at his swimming lesson, my son acted out big time. He disobeyed his swimming coach by running away both in the water and around the pool - more than twice. I called him on it. He obeyed for half a minute, long enough for me to leave the scene and return to my seat. Then it started again. We left the pool area with him screaming and me dragging him by the hand.
It's the afternoon. He is sound asleep. The house is quiet. The TV has a blanket over it to remind him that he has lost TV privileges for several days. I am tired and weary. I have been crying. I don't have advice for others in this post. Some days, parenting feels like the most difficult and impossible thing ever. I just hope a different person wakes up from that nap.