Reality of our age...I'm always behind it seems.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Hanging-On, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    I guess I'm just thinking out loud here. I'm trying to place in time, when my body leaped forward in age, but my mind didn't. I think all of this has come about because of my phone call with my mom. I was a late child for them, and so my parents are always older than say my peers parents. They've always had a greater maturity, and they've always were at a different level then my friends parents. Like my parents had already faced the ring of fire, and had survived it and moved on, but my frineds parents didn't even know there was a ring of fire to go through. It's just always been different for me, due to my parents age. You always read about parents coming to live with the children when they get older, medical issues etc. But until this weekend it was always an article in the paper. Well speaking with mom this weekend I find out that she's going in for sometype of heart artury surgery after Easter. She sounded so frail for the first time, to me. In that conversation I became 40, not 20, not 30 like my mind and tastes say....but 40 with all the things of aging parents who are in their 80's. The reality of morality, of feableness, of losing them, etc. As independent as I am, and as emotionally cold I am to things around me, I find that the reality of my age and the reality of my parents aging was a shock to me. Through everything they have been the only constant for me throughout my life. I guess I have taken that for granted that they will always be there, like they'll be 100+ when I'm old and grey and that we all would just die together. I just find it weird (in a way) that our minds seem not to age like our bodies, that you hold a image in your head and it doesn't age. It's always frozen in time, until something changes it. The same is true with us. One day you look in the mirror and don't recognize the image looking back at you. Maybe it's cuz we're so involved in our difficult child's and other children. Maybe it's our careers, i don't know. I just know that this weekend I find myself 40 with parents who are in their 80's with the problems that come with that.....I'm just in awe. And one day, I will find myself without them, and that truly scares me. And that day will come. In one day, or 15 yrs. But one day, I will be alone. I've never thought about that, unil now. :sad:
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, HangingOn, I hear you. Even if we don't have good relationships with-our parents, the fact that they raised us and we spent so many yrs with-them leaves a lasting impression. Mortality is a strange thing.
    I know what you mean by looking in the mirror!
    And yes, our G'sfg take up so much time, we forget to measure the hrs and minutes and the days in regard to our own age and mortality. I was highly conscious of time and age in my 20s and 30s but after 40 it disappeared.

    I wonder when this will all occur to my difficult child... how old he'll be when he comprehends it.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was a child born to older parents too. My mom came to live with me because of illness when I was still raising my kids. It presented a unique situation in that I was still young to be dealing with that. She died when I was 42.

    Those of us who deal with this are called the sandwich generation.
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    well, I am opposite in that my mom was on the young side of 16 when I was born. (altho my lil bro is 27 years younger than I am- so he is on the side you are on- this is a topic of our conversations often- he just turned 21 and his dad has been gone 10 years and mom for 18 mos)
    I was 30 before I had my oldest difficult child and yesterday I was TRYING so hard to discuss her "future" with her. SHe is perfectly content to live at home, all cozy and happy. I was trying so hard to explain to her I will NOT live forever. <sigh>
    Today I heard her on her phone talking to someone about how nice it would be if everyone were immortal. Hmmm.that depends on if there would still be sickness etc or not, in my opinion.
  5. oceans

    oceans New Member

    I had older parents too, and my dad passed when he was 89 and I was 42. My mom is in assisted living, and she is 88 and I just turned 50. I spent many years flying home to help her after hospitalizations, and also running back and forth to school meetings for difficult child in between. Exhausting....yes the sandwich generation for certain. It is not easy.
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am not there yet, I am 30 and mom is 53. I do help with my grandfather, who is 84, quite independent, but needs help with housework and the occasional ER visit. difficult child is too much for him in large doses, so I try to keep the kids' visit short. I could not care for him in my home as my home is too chaotic, and would predecease him.
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    My mom was 40 when i was born. i have brothers and sisters I never lived with because they were gone to college when i was born, then married. I was angry with my siblings (inside) because they got to spend time and grow up with mom and dad. I didn't get that. their children knew grandma and grandpa. mine didn't. I lived being afraid of losing them, instead of enjoying every minute I could. Just to be able to call my mom would mean so much. cherish each minute.
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'>I'm almost 52. I really didn't appreciate how it feels for the world to see you as "older" until I hit 50. It's strange. In my 40's I worried that I'd pick out clothes that were too frumpy. In my 50's I worry that I will pick clothes that are too young for me and I will look ridiculous.No one wants to be a joke. Not that this is important but it's an indication of a change in mindset.
    My in laws and mother will all turn 80 in the next 6 months. They are all sharp. My mom while robust suffers with back issues to the point she requires a walker. She is difficult child enough that she still works one day a week. In laws got incredibly frail in the last year. They have come to realize that they will need some services from now on. Hopefully it will be arranged. It has always been my expectation that we will care for our parents if we need to do so. My dad was here for 3 yrs and passed away in my home, as he wanted it. I had a plan.
    Working in a hospital always seemed to prepare me that people age or leave us. Be grateful(as I am) that it wasn't too young. Enjoy that you have them now.
    I think looking at the future and seeing the obvious and making a mental plan of what you want to do and say is a good thing. Appreciate every day they are able to be with you even if it is by phone.
    So many don't want to think about illness and the inevitable. I have never been that way. I want to be prepared. I ask about living wills and their medical wishes, just as I share my wishes in the event I can no longer make my own decisions. We have talked among ourselves of what is to be done if parents can't make choices themselves.
    I know it is painful but having a plan takes some of the fear out of the future with parents. It doesn't make it hurt less but it gives you a sense of ability to weather the storm. Hope you don't have to deal with this for a very long time. Hugs. </span>
  9. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I will be 48 this month, My mom is 75. She has had triple bypass, heart valve replacement, knee surgery, diabetis kidney trouble and a lung clot which almost did her in. It is very hard to be there for her when I already have so much on my plate with my kids. You do what you have to do and somehow it works. My dad died when he was only 58, he has missed so much.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It really sneaks up on you, doesn't it! I'm 61 now ... my dad died when I was 31 and my mom right after my 40th birthday, so I've been without them for a long, long time. I don't like to think about things like that either, and as far as I know I'm OK (for now), but I am determined to make things easier for my kids than it was for us when my mom died! She had been an invalid since we were kids and ended up living with us the last several years of her life. I recently found myself telling an old friend that she had lived with us for about ten years, then started doing the math and realized that it was only four years! It just SEEMED like ten! It is NOT easy! She had no idea about her business affairs and we finally realized after she died that my dad had carried no life insurance on her ... we had a hard enough time just finding her SSN! So now, just in case a meteor drops on me or something, I have things all spelled out for my kids, what insurance I have, what all will be owed from where I work, 401K, leave balance pay outs, etc.

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm not all that old, and in pretty good shape, better than a lot of folks my age anyway. But what really brought it home for me is that just since the first of the year, we have lost three co-workers, all good friends of mine! One had cancer and died exactly one week after he had been pronounced cancer-free by his doctors! Another, a former boss, died a few days after surgery for terminal pancreatic cancer that had only been diagnosed a few days earlier. The third died of a heart attack after "911" couldn't find his house! And all three were anywhere from one to three years younger than I am! It really makes you think! You just never know! I never used to even think about things like this ... but I do now.
  11. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Thanks everyone. I will say this is the first time, I've talked to people like me with older parents. Most people have young parents, or the normal age; and my parents seems like their grandparents. It's basically pointless to talk to these people because they have no clue what life is like with older parents. They can't relate to knowing the music of Big Band generation, Lawrence Welk, The Boston Pops, Ethel Merman, etc. They don't relate to stories of the depression, how soap operas were on the radio, stories of listening to "Only the Shadow Knows", etc., the different wars, and how much has changed in the last 70 years from when they were kids. They can't relate to the idea of "dressing up" for going out to dinner on a Friday night to the restraunt around the corner, because "That's what you do". And they can't really relate to your mom cringing and fighting with you when you wear holes in your jeans, because in their time that meant you were so poor....not cool. Even today when I hear a song, and I can name it my dad say's, "I didn't know you knew who that was"? I always look at him and tell him that every Friday night you and mom went dancing, and took me with you....remember. Then he remembers and smiles.....the things that rub off on us even when we don't know it. It's nice to talk with people who have that experience, instead of getting the "who sang what?", "they did what when?". "Huhh??"