This week I can really feel it, the pull towards the middle. On Monday in one stressful hour I got two calls: one from the school district about preschool observations that upended my entire schedule for the week and one from my mom telling my my sister's mother-in-law had died. Then later in the week I come to find out that my own mother-in-law had a bad fall that necessitated a visit to the doctor.
In between shuttling the girls to their school district evaluations, I have been talking to my sister about wills and arrangements and pestering my husband to find out more about what is going on with his mom.
Then on my dad's birthday after getting a prompted Desmonda to say "happy birthday! I love you Grandpa!" I had to hang up because my dad kept getting distracted and I was worried he would crash. My mom says he really can't see at night anymore. She can't either, restricting them to the early bird activities. On Fridays they volunteer at an old folks home, playing bridge with people who need partners. I can't help but wonder how many years I have left before they are the ones needing partners.
I see it everywhere, several friends lost parents last year. More are dealing with sick parents, having to step in and talk to the doctors, clear up their parents' finances, and help them adjust to their limited abilities. And though I haven't had to dive into any of those sticky situations with my parents or in-laws, I can feel it rushing at me. The middle is coming and the dynamic of our relationship will soon change.
When it happens, I know I will want to drop everything and be there for my parents. They have always been there for me and I want to do the same for them. But I can't because I have my own kids to think of, my own kids to be there for. It is the struggle between my two family places, the baby in our tight foursome and the mom to my own little girls. Right now I am figuring it out, my new place in the middle between the two.