Growing old…

So, in staying a bit with the grandparent’s theme since I wanted to support Grandparent’s day which has already passed…  BUT I thought I’d write about getting older… 

And no, not ME getting older.  But the our grandparents, parents and society in general.

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be an invisible age past which everyone becomes unable to think for themselves?

And no, I don’t mean this literally happening…  I mean the age at which people around someone thinks they can no longer think for themselves.  

Have you ever noticed, that as our grandparents (or parents) age, there seems to be this “age limit” to their ability to think for themselves. 

All of a sudden, they are ignored or shushed.  Their opinions no longer matter.  I’m not sure what this magical age is but the older someone gets, the less value there is placed on their opinions and knowledge.

And yes, I am just as guilty of doing this as everyone else.

Think about it…  All of a sudden, grandma can’t think for herself and everyone else has to make the decisions for her in “her best interests.”  But is this really what’s happening?  Can she really NOT make her own decisions or is everyone around her just assuming she can’t?  

Did she misplace her car keys one too many times and now the family has decided she has Alzheimer’s.   Does she forget names a bit too easily for everyone’s comfort?  

Or is she really developing dementia?  Alzheimer’s?  Something else?

It’s a balancing act I’ve realized.  I’ve seen both sides…  A grandparent who up until his dying day was incredibly intelligent and fiercely independent but needed care.  And a great-grandmother who developed dementia who had to live in a nursing home the last few years of her life.

And with each, there was always a hesitation from family to get involved with the care of the individual in question.

Is it too early?  Do they know what is really going on?  What can I really do or should I just make all the decisions?

There is no easy answer to any of this…  However, I do have a suggestion.

Talk with your parents, your grandparents, your kids, your family as early as possible about what will happen when this time comes.

Talk about it.  Open up the lines of communication.  Getting old is great!  It is!  

Okay, not THAT great.  But as I age, I realize how much more I get out of life compared to the years before…  I have a lot more aging to do, thankfully, but have already started having the “tough” decisions with my mom and the quad.

I want to have control over what happens when I age.  So, I’m taking control now.  And I suggest that everyone else does too.

Open up and talk about it.  Talk about aging.  Talk about death and dying.  Have the hard discussions early, when you still can.  When you know you’re going to get the answers or support that you need.  

I told my mom that when the times comes, I do not want to make the decision for her.  I want to know her decision ahead of time and I want to help her make the plans.  She agreed.

The quad knows my thoughts on aging and death.  We’ve started to outline our plans.  It’s a bit different for us due to his disability so we’ve started this discussion much earlier than most.  but it’s important.  It’s my life.  It’s his life.  It’s our daughter’s life…

Because of that, we’ve started to have the talk.  What about you?

A new job and a new niece!!!

So, as much as I wanted to post, things have been a bit crazy around here…

I GOT A NEW JOB!

Yea, scary stuff for a caregiver.  I had been with my old company for almost 12 years…  moving from department to department and growing that way.  I was there when the quad and I got engaged, married, got our first dog, bought our first house, and had the kid.

And I was there when the quad became a quad…

The people there are my family.  And notice I say are…  although I’m no longer there and officially at my new gig.  Those people ARE my family.

The support that they gave me when the quad got hurt was incredible.

They raised money for us.  They gave me their vacation days so I could stay in Atlanta with the quad during rehab.  They sent care packages which were AMAZING!

They supported us when we needed it most.

And leaving there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but it was time.

Staying there meant holding onto the past and I’ve realized that I’ve done that for too long.  It was time to let go.  So I jumped.

It was scary as hell…  but I think I landed in a wonderful place that will help me grow in my career and as a person.

And the other big exciting news is that I have a new niece!  She arrived a smidge early and took her time actually coming out, much to my sister’s annoyance…  24 hours after my sister’s water breaking, 5 hours of pushing and a c-section later, my p-ray arrived.

She’s gorgeous.  (Obviously since she’s related to me…  ha!)

I’ve been able to hold her and cuddle her and love her as much as an auntie needs to…  and the quad and kid have been able to meet her as well.  It’s new for the kid since she’s the first (and was the only) grandkid on my parent’s side.  So, these past few weeks have been tough on her.

She hates change like her mom…

The quad couldn’t meet her for a few weeks since my sister was sick and well, the quad and a sick hospital patient don’t jive.  AND they live on the second floor of their condo and there is no elevator…  So we had to plan a meeting.

And, of course, I was reminded of when the quad got injured…

The kid was almost 6 months old when he broke his neck.  He missed out on so much of her life…  for so long…  It was so hard.

Now I wonder how life will be as p-ray’s uncle.  It was a tough thing to think about although I know it will be great.  But, like with the kid, he can’t hold her.  Or hug her.  Or feed her.  Or teach her how to ski.  Or take her alone places until she’s older.

To say that thinking about all of that was hard is an understatement.  It was incredibly painful since it brought up bad memories.  And it still stings.

But, this is our life.  And she will be loved.  And that’s what matters.  The quad is an amazing dad and is already an amazing uncle to our other niece and nephew.  I have no doubt that he’ll be an amazing uncle to another niece.

So, I’m doing my best to let go of the past.  That’s been the theme of the past few weeks…

Here’s to new beginnings for us all.