"It's a Shame"

Denise

"It's a Shame"

Denise
headphones-820341_640Last night, I came to a peaceful perspective about my parents' decision to move back home. With this peace, I feel less stressed about packing up my stuff and moving it all back into storage.

My father's visiting nurse (or former visiting nurse -- her last visit was yesterday) ordered a skin barrier spray for my dad last week. My dad, who can't live with uncertainty, has been worrying about the arrival of the skin barrier, mailed to the house rather than to their apartment.

It arrived yesterday so I sent my dad a text this morning. "The spray is here," I wrote, "I've put it on the kitchen table if you want to pick it up. Or, I can drop it off after 4 today."

My dad sent an email back that they would stop to pick up the spray.

They stopped while I was in the shower, at about 10:30 this morning. Once out of the shower, I spoke briefly with my mom, who said she wanted to go up to one of the top rooms in the house to ride the exercise bike. "I have a webinar at 11," I said. "I'll just be downstairs."

So, I headed to the lower level (the family room) to get ready for Amy's webinar (The Ten Commandments of Being a Family Caregiver). As technology would have it, I struggled with loading Amy's slide presentation, unable to find the fix with only about 15 minutes before her webinar set to air live. As I chatted with the technical support, I could hear my dad go up the stairs and trip. And, then I heard my mom ask what happened, my dad answer that he cut his arm along the wall. I could hear them talking -- he needed an antiseptic -- as she bandaged his arm. I needed to get Amy's webinar up and running so I stayed put.

A few moments later, with Amy's webinar ready to go and only a few minutes before her webinar set to air live, my dad came down to the family room. Headsets on, laptop in front of me, I asked my dad what happened. "I banged my arm," he said.

And, then he turned to address me as I sat with headsets on, fingers perched on my laptop.

"You know, over the years, you've made decisions that we didn't agree with," he said. "But we accepted them because you are who you are. It's a shame you can't do the same for us. And, that's all I'm going to say."

And, then he headed into the cubby hole off the family room, about five feet from where I sat, to make some noise.

I simply picked up and moved to the room at the very top of the house, bypassing my mom on the exercise bike on my way.

I know my parents truly believe they've supported me. And, certainly, allowing me to live with them has kept me in business. But my experience is that they've judged me (one of the prices I've paid for living with them) and ignored my boundaries. I used to tape a sign on my bedroom door that read, "Taping in progress," while broadcasting a webinar or a podcast. Sometimes, the sign kept my father out. But it's his house. He gets complete and total access when he wants it regardless of the impact.

One of my brothers sent me an email yesterday. "You have every right to feel this way," he wrote. "Their demands on you are unacceptable."

Last summer, when so much happened to my parents and I did my best to keep up and make the decisions that seemed right for them, this same brother ranted to me on the phone one day. "Why do they treat you like this?" he said.

Because I let them, I now see. Because I told myself I had no other choice.

So, I think my parents will take back the house sooner than the end of May. The weather will be nice this weekend. I think it will be nice weather to pack.

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