Think Parenting Kids is Tough? Try Parenting Parents
I'm in the process of finding my father a new nursing home. His decline has now reached a level where the assisted living community he's called home for the last five years "can no longer meet his needs". That's how they put it. I think it had something to do with him cussing the staff and hitting old ladies on the head with rolled up envelopes.
When people get old, or at least when some people get old, they become like kids again. But not kids you'd really like. Picture a kid in your kid's class who's got no impulse control. Now picture him bigger than you and operating under the belief that he has absolute power. That's what it's like when dads get old.
My father is in his early eighties and has been in a slow decline for about seven years now. OK, yes, much of this decline is sad. But it's like I say to him when he complains (which is all the time), "getting old is tough, but it's better than the alternative".
And frankly, some of it is funny. My dad would come to my house when my twins were a year old. They weren't talking yet, and when they would yell for more food or to get my attention, he would mimic them, but at the full volume of his voice. "AAAAAAAGH!" I would say, "Dad! Stop!" and he'd say, "You pay attention to them when they do that!" and then continue to squawk like a toddler.
Picturing my dad walking his feet with his wheelchair like a turtle in a shell, smacking other people on their heads with his mail (it was one envelope. No one got hurt) is a funny image. It makes me giggle every time I think of it.
I had a day when both my son and my dad pooped their pants. Now that's a bad day.
Being a member of the sandwich generation isn't easy. Sometimes I feel like I'm being pulled apart at the seams. So I try to see the humor in it when I can. And when I can't, I hit people with my mail.