Change.  Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable.  Minutes, hours, days, weeks, years pass before us and like it or not, nothing stays the same.  But some changes are harder to fathom than others.

I consider myself somewhat of a Darwinist: I embrace the thought of “Adapt or Die”.  I feel it change is necessary in order to survive.  I may not love how tech has seemingly taken over the world, but I realize that I must keep up with it of I will go much the way of the dinosaur.  I have to accept that tech is not going anywhere.

But the one change I never saw coming was the role I play in my family.  I am older than my sister by almost seven years, so I had the early upbringing as an only child, yet somewhere in first grade there was an addition.  I’ve always been the quieter, responsible one, a protector of sorts- when it came to her.  But my parents were my parents- they provided and nurtured as best they could.  They were in charge.

My Father turned 80 last month, and my Mom will be celebrating her 60th high school reunion next weekend (I’m not supposed to reveal her age…).  And they are still mobile.  They still have their mental faculties.  I am blessed so far that there health remains pretty good.  But they are getting older- I can’t deny this.

Last month we went to dinner for my Dad’s birthday: my husband and daughter, my sister, brother in law and niece, my Uncle and my Mom.  We went to an iconic New York steakhouse (my Dad’s favorite) which serves its steak dinners family style: big platters of porterhouse and creamed spinach and German fried potatoes in the middle of the table. So when the food is to be shared by the table, you must figure out how much to order. Two steaks for two and two steaks for three?  What temperature?  How many tomato onion salads? Who wants shrimp?

I watched my parents fumble at ordering food.  They were having trouble ordering food at a restaurant we’ve been going to for years.  My Father who ran a successful business, my Mother who inserts herself into any situation, were stumbling.  My Sister was adding to the confusion  by wanting to massively overorder.

I had to take charge.

I had to usurp my parents authority.

This was the first time I envisioned the future of my parents.  This was the first time I realized that things are going to change, and my parents may not be able to make their own decisions anymore.

So I told the table- ie my parents- that I was going to do the ordering.  I knew how much food we needed.  I knew how much steak to get medium vs medium rare. The waiter instantly recognized me as the “go to” person, even though my Father was footing the bill. And though that day was about steak and potatoes, I saw my future in front of me. I was their protector now too.

I never saw that coming. But I need to adapt.  It’s a new world order.

And the dinner went off great.  We had the exact right amount of food.  I made sure my Dad got the pieces of steak he wanted, and I ordered him an extra piece of pecan pie because I knew it wasn’t fair to make him share a piece with all the others.  I wanted him to have a good day, because I realize there aren’t many good days left.  That’s just life. Things change.

 

 

 

 

 

53 thoughts on “New World Order

  1. Good post. Both of my parents have passed away. One saw the aging quite rapidly. They were in their mid 70’s when they passed away. I remember being aware of it acutely at times. I went to the Gulf for a walk with my mom. She had been a prolific walker and in New York City, we walked, we walked, and we walked everywhere! She walked a small distance and then sat down. I knew I would lose her as her health was failing from a very busy life! Time does change everything. I also had to make the decision for my father while he was in the hospital with an aneurysm as my older brother wouldn’t make the decision. I live with no regrets with my parents as both my husband and I were there until the end.

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      1. Thanks. I know you will, also. On Father’s day, I felt sorry for both of my brothers that their pride and anger at something let them get in the way of saying good bye to my father. Very sad. No regrets.

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  2. And yet though change must happen, there’s more than a hint of sadness when the order of things changes. That moment when you’ve left a long enough gap and you find that no-one can answer but you, yet in the past someone always answered for you. Those moments are hard and yet they can be so beautiful when the person realises they’ve just become the voice, the new order. They blossom and now people turn to them for opinions. It’s also sad that another is diminished but the easy way round it for now is to say “Dad said earlier (or Mom)”.
    Congratulations on taking on the new role. Things change, but we decide if they continue on in the right way.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  3. Change is inevitable but when it comes to your parents it is strange that you all of a sudden realize that you have to change roles. My mom did not like it at all and got really snippy but eventually realized that it was for the best although it was a strained truce. Best of luck and since you have both of your parents to deal with, employ others to help so you are not the only one.

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  4. My dad passed over 35 years ago but my mom will be 95 in August and I am the one (of 4 girls) who is helping with her aging process. In the last couple of months I have had to assist with a stent placement and amputation of part of a toe. I’m the third daughter and this should have been my older sisters’ responsibility but one of them has passed and the other two live far away. Hugs to you as you go through the process.

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  5. I saw my dad fall on my front steps yesterday. My mom was behind him and caught him and glanced at me, I was nearby watering my new grass. I saw her look. I looked away. But there it is. It’s beginning.

    sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  6. John and I did not take charge of our parents, because we didn’t need to! Three of them popped off quickly, without any lingering illness. The one with Alzheimer’s was in a nursing home. I’m glad we didn’t worry about changing roles.

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  7. It’s such a sad day when you witness your parents failing and you have to become their parents. It’s not easy as you try to give them care but they don’t really want it because they still see themselves as your care giver. I wish you strength to deal with this phase of your relationship with your parents. Great that they still have each other.

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  8. I understand seeing your parents changing in their elder years. I watched several strokes disable my dad until the last massive one hit him in early 2012 and no therapy or medical attention was working. My mom, sister, and I had to make the joint decision to take him off the respirator. He departed seven hours later while just my mom was in the room with him. We do have to adapt to changes in life. It’s part of being on this earth and being human. I’m glad your parents have you and I’m sure they’re thankful for your taking charge at dinner. 🙂

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  9. My parents are of a similar age. They live over the other side of the world. They come here for 12 weeks every Christmas and have done for 14 years. Last Christmas was the last time they will make that journey. So now it is all about Skype. We mostly talk about hospital appointments that they have attended. On their last visit I was bowled over by how much they had age. i also feel guilty as my brother is taking on so much as I am here and he is there. So I totally understand. In fact my next blog was going to address ageing parents. We are of an age with so many responsibilities and hormones going haywire. So many of my friends are in a similar position xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was me 10ish years ago. As I was having to build a new life for myself at the time, I went through all the emotions about needing to be that person. But in the end, you do what you gotta do. I won’t offer my sympathies because they are good times to be found among the difficulties. But I do offer my empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

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