As Mamas, we spend a lot of time in the middle of things. When my boys were younger and starting to fuss with each other, I’d frequently end up in the middle of it, sorting out stories and hurt feelings. It wasn’t unusual at my house to find myself in the middle of translating “DadSpeak” to one of the boys or “KidSpeak” to my husband. In the kitchen, it’s absolutely the case that I can always be found right in the middle of the mess…with more helper cooks than I know what to do with!
Recently, as one of the more…um…mature Mamas, I’ve discovered a whole new middle ground. One I’m not particularly fond of, but one I know I’m going to have to accept. A new off road life’s journey has tossed my way.
For many of us, there comes a point in our lives when you think you can see the end of the labor-intensive phase of being a Mama. With kids almost grown and much more self sufficient, you can almost taste the free time you’re going to have shortly.
Then one day, you find yourself parenting a parent. And, suddenly, you’re a Mama in the Middle, with responsibility for your children on one side and for your parent on the other.
It’s a weird place, let me tell you. I had my first visit there yesterday, bringing my Mother home from an outpatient surgery. What did it look like? Little things…
~ Checking to make sure she was using her ice pack throughout the day. [Nagging when she wasn't... bringing it to her and insisting she put it on].
~ Making sure she ate before taking any pain pills. [Nagging when she hadn't eaten... fixing the soup up with 'fun' crackers to encourage her to eat].
~ Answering the same question over and over and over. [They have amazingly good drugs to knock you out for those quickie surgeries!!]
It’s also a delicate balancing spot. You can TELL your kids what to do but you have to ENCOURAGE your parents into the same actions. A strange spot that makes me think hard about the way I’ve always taken for granted my interactions with my sons and my expectations that they’ll do what I tell them simply because I’m telling them what’s best for them.
I’m beginning to suspect that, perhaps, like many other little off roads in life, there are opportunities for learning more about myself along this one, too. And who knows? I might even find a spot to tuck all these feelings into a scene I write some day!
So, before I take my leave to go check on ice bags and empty soup bowls stuffed under a chair, I’m taking a moment to wave at all the other Mamas in the Middle [or the ones who one day will be].
Remember: Life’s a journey where you get to learn more about who you really are as you see the sights. The really cool part is, you get to change how you do stuff as you go!
Have a beautiful day, Mamas!!!