Aging Parents: They are like kids except grouchier and more climate controlled

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my parents. They are awesome humans. They have been wonderful examples in my life. Stable and nurturing. Supportive and loving. Imperfect and kind. But I gotta tell you this whole sandwich generation is some BS.

Not only do I NOT feel confident claiming the term adult in reference to myself and my husband (no offense), and being a parent makes me question my existence and experience all the time, but now I’m supposed to understand what kind of attention and care people over 70 need? I swear all the adults have been winging it since the dawn of time, but no one decided to tell us until we were actual grown-ups and they were like “Good luck, the joke’s on you”. I’d be better off if you gave me an Iguana and a heat lamp.

Now that I am faced with this whole new section of my life where I need to figure out how to deal with very opinionated, intelligent, sassy, slower-moving, grouchy people I feel like I’m completely out of my element. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have my parents in my life, it’s just that sometimes I wish they were a little less crabby, and a wee less angry over the small stuff. Like rashes, and food portions, and equal rights, and news stories, and medication lids, and how cold it is in restaurants. It seems older people love to sweat the small stuff, and mention it over, and over again. PS we heard you the first five times, I promise.

Since Dr. Spock never wrote a handbook on parenting parents I guess I will start with patience and love. Then I’ll follow that with some sympathy, humor, kindness, more patience, some much-needed boundaries and add in more love. Did I mention patience? And let’s be honest, some champagne probably won’t hurt, or even a lot of champagne. No judgment. Does that sound about right? Does anyone out there really know? Can anybody hear me???

And when my dad starts a story with “I’m sure I already told you this but…” I’ll just have to smile huh? Even if it’s the 100th time I’ve heard it – and I didn’t even think it was funny the first 99 times around? What about when my mom goes off on politics with no actual policies or facts to back up her rants? I’m gonna have to just zone out and sit there with a smile on my face? Well, I guess I can do that. I am good at smiling and staring off into the distance like Steve Martin in “The Absent-Minded Waiter”.  If you’ve never seen it, you must watch it right now, or save it until one of your parents starts talking about how much houses cost were when they were young.

I will prevail and at least feel safe in the comfort that we are all going through the same thing, or we’ve been there, or we are gonna be there soon. And if there is one other thing to hold onto, just think, when I’m 100-years-old and yelling “Broncos rule” into the faces of children wearing competitor’s football jerseys at space church, someone else will be pushing my wheelchair, apologizing and adjusting the air conditioning in their self-driving van just for me.

Cheers for now!

How have you dealt with aging parents? With humor? Sympathy? Seriously, can you recommend a good book or doctor over here? At least share your favorite story with us, we are all in this together and we are gonna need to laugh…a LOT.


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