Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking Point -- by Robin

What a week this has been.

A true sandwich generation experience in every sense of the word....both positive and challenging.....which I guess is the essence of this time in my life.

Don't get me wrong. I am immensely grateful on some levels to be here. I adore my son and love my senior dad. I treasure my time with both of them. And, I fully recognize that moments can be fleeting, so I strive to take it all in. But, at the same time, it can wear one out. Especially a 40 something peri-menopausal mom.

Seth had school break this week, and my 91 year old dad went in for an angiogram. And, I, myself, have this lingering cold and went on antibiotic....since I had a bout with pneumonia back in November.

Other than one scheduled playdate for Seth, we've pretty much been winging our plans each day. I've taken him to the gym with me and discovered that we can have a good time throwing the 4 lb. medicine ball to each other. He's actually quite strong and agile, and I love that he loves to exercise and strive for good health. Yesterday, we spent a record three hours at the gym, and he didn't want to leave. Part of that time was spent with him perched on one of the Nautilus machines he designated as a fire truck, as he proceeded to save me and others at the gym from pretend fires. His imagination never ceases to intrigue me.

Last night for dinner, we baked a surprisingly good homemade pizza from scratch.

And, we've done food shopping and other errands, including putting the finishing touches on his upcoming 7th birthday parties in class and at Progressive Gymnastics East.

While all this was underway this week, my dad stayed overnight at the hospital, and his cardiologist called me while I was at the gym, as I endeavored to stay as calm as I could...when really I was anything but. My dad years ago had triple bypass and at a later date had stents put in. Now it seems that more stents are in order and that he will have to return to the hospital for the procedure. The cardiologist is being extra cautious, given his age, and wants to carefully review the films of his last angiogram three years ago before potentially moving forward. I respect this, though I hate to see my dad have to go back to the hospital again.

I was near tears last night when Seth decided to draw a book that showed grandpa in the hospital. He's a child who feels deeply. He always has.

I spoke to my dad upon his return home, and he sounded worn. A night in the hospital can do that to you, but he's also been through a lot in life in general. And, sometimes I think he feels it's enough when his body fails him in ways he's never experienced. Aging isn't easy. I wouldn't say he's lost his will to live, but he does feel he lacks a quality life. He's frustrated on a daily basis, and it's a hard thing to hear. I want better for him.

A mom I know said to me this week that she's realizing more and more the need not to put off things. She just helped hire an aide for her in-laws and sees them having physical challenges they never used to.

My husband's best friend's wife lost her 80 something mother a month ago, and earlier this week, her brother in his late 50s unexpectedly passed away. Life can be fragile. I'm receiving that message from the universe loud 'n clear.

I've just begun to read Devotion, a new book by Dani Shapiro, and from the book jacket copy alone, I can so relate to the essence of her motivation to write this memoir. It says...."In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was -- a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?"

I do know that I need a little break before I reach my breaking point. In April, the next school vacation, I may go away with Seth. Marc, my husband, can't take time off then due to tax season. So, it would be my first time just with Seth away from home. It would be fun to go visit a close friend. I could use some quality gal pal time, laughs, heartfelt in-person chats, and a change of atmosphere.

I pray that my dad's potential stent procedure won't be during that period.

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