Thoughts about mothers and daughters and their relationships consume me these days. Motherhood is something most of us ask for and wish for; we enter willingly and with anticipation. We almost go into it lightly and casually. There should be classes, a degree, or a council of “Wise Old Mothers” to teach, train and warn:
This will be the best thing you ever do.
This will be the hardest thing you ever do.
This will be the thing you ALWAYS do.
Motherhood is forever.
Motherhood should come with a warning.
I am “sandwiched” between generations — a triple-decker club. Mother, children and grandchildren. Nothing really unique about that, I guess, as many women my age share the roles I am playing right now. But when it is your personal script, the emotions, changes, and role reversals are fresh and new and very complex.
You wonder how the women before you have done this.
And why didn’t you pay better attention.
My youngest child is packing up everything she owns for her last semester of college. I watch as closets are emptied, books are piled, drawers are scattered. Emotions run deep. I am happy for her. The timing is right. She has been an easy child. Wise beyond her years. Independent. But there is a sadness too. She has been away at college for three years, and it’s not like we will be new at this empty nest thing, but this seems final.
Everything she owns.
Wait! I’m not ready to let her go. I know I didn’t teach her enough. I have so much more to say.
But she is an adult now. Almost 22 years old. No longer a child. Roles…changing…
As she packs, my own mother is awaiting admittance to an Assisted Living Facility. She has been living in my home for 4 months. I have been her caregiver. She has had health issues for a year now with one major surgery and then a simple condition that wasn’t diagnosed correctly. It was missed. The simple condition turned deadly, and months and months of illness followed which wrecked havoc on her body and her mind. The issue has finally been addressed, and treated, but her body and mind are slow to recover. She is now half-well/half-sick. She was much easier to care for when she was very ill. She is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and she just wants to go home. And the doctors have said no. Each day, it is more challenging to care for her in my home. I can give her so much, but I cannot give her the one thing she wants — home.
I am trying to care for my mother. Roles…. changing… reversed….Emotions run deep.
There were 4 children running, playing, and napping in my house yesterday. It was chaos. Wonderful, loud chaos. Snacks. Bottles. Booboos. Squabbles. Diapers. Lunch. I have the privilege of keeping these grandchildren two days a week, and I love those kiddos like my own. I try to assume my part as Gramma — and not caregiver — whenever their Mama is around, but sometimes the roles get a little blurred. I know sometimes I overstep. Where the heck is that Gramma manual?
That daughter is the mother now. She gets this season to teach and train. Roles….
It is amazing to watch your own daughter become a mother. She seems to do it so naturally. Is it easier for her or is she wanting a motherhood degree herself now? She is part of the “sandwich” as her focus is on those children yet she keeps looking back at me.
‘Mom, you doing okay?’ She wants to take care of me.
The dance continues…
Emotions again… running.