I am officially dealing with a child getting ready to go off to college and parents who are older and in need of my help. I cannot believe that my only baby sent off her first college application! It is definitely different from when I submitted my college applications. When I completed mine, it was after depleting bottles of white out on my electric typewriter and then saying a prayer as I dropped it in the mailbox.
Flash forward to 2014, my husband and I sat around her laptop, saying a prayer as we watched her hit the submit button. I had tears in my eyes. My husband did not–until he saw the application fee of $75! The application fee definitely increased since twenty some odd years ago!
Having only one child had its advantages except that every one of her firsts is the last I will experience. However, I know she is so excited and looking forward to being on her own at college, so I support her. Okay, so for me supporting her means that I announce at the beginning of each month-‘this is the last (insert month) you will come home to me after classes.’ She rolls her eyes every time. Well she better get used to it because we have several more months that I will repeat this mantra until graduation (not to mention if she keeps making that face it could stay that way).
At the other end of the spectrum, I am facing the fact that my parents are getting older and I will be getting more involved with their lives. When I was growing up I had a hard time picturing my parents younger and having any kind of life before I was born (I mean it all started with me, right?). But I also never thought about the fact they would get older. Well, I knew it in a sense, but felt it was years away so I didn’t dwell on it.
Similar to when my daughter was young and people would say, ‘she will be off to college before you know it!’ I politely smiled and thought—that is such a looong way away! At that point, I just wanted her to go off to dream land and sleep through the night!
As a new mom, I was so cautious about how to take care of her and worried I would break her somehow. I read as many books on child care that I could (always goes back to OCD about researching). I felt confident taking care of myself but a baby-totally out of my league at that time. I prayed for guidance.
Now, with my parents, I feel the same way. They have health issues they did not have before. So, there is more (yup, you guessed it) research so I know what questions to ask their doctor. But there are some things I just can’t look up and one of them is- how can I deal with this situation?
I am so afraid of missing something or assuming another. Is this the right way to care for them in this situation? Did I make the wrong decision? Did I sway them to what I think they should do when it may not have been what they would have originally chosen? I am praying for guidance to choose the right option.
It is a tough balance because they are still my parents and they are adults used to making their own decisions. Sometimes, I still feel like the ten-year old daughter and taking charge in that situation seems futile.
As I had mentioned in the past, my writing helps me to deal with my pain. The majority of time it is my physical pain. However, using bits and pieces from my emotional struggles to develop a character in my manuscript sometimes helps in finding an answer to a situation in my own life.
Not only that, but writing in this way makes my rough draft more interesting. One way to do a plot twist is to have a character in the book that is found to be someone totally opposite of what they portrayed. It could be a secret that has been kept for many years as in my manuscript, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM. Or it could be that someone essential in assisting the main character unexpectedly becomes ill. So, instead of the main character counting on that person to help, the main character must do a role reversal.
Now, I just have to pray that I can figure out how the main character will deal with this role reversal….
I would love to hear how you may have dealt with any of these events and if they caught you by surprise.
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