Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Caregivers Anonymous

It seems to me that many of my friends and I have done more than our share of active care giving.  Maybe it's because we're women or have big hearts or have just been the ones with the misfortune to be stuck with it.  I find the phrase "when is it my turn to do what I want?" tossed into conversations a lot these days.
We have learned the hard way what being middle aged really are stuck like an oreo cookie in between caring for your children AND your parents.
While caring for my mother (now deceased) I had many people telling me what a good daughter I was and what a good job I was doing, seeing to all her needs.  I would smile and say "thank you" through gritted teeth while thinking 'it's sure not because I want to be doing this'.  It's hard to care for someone who didn't care much for you as their child. And yet that sense of wanting to be there, to make sure they are all right is strong. That and the eternal hope of hearing she loved me and was proud of me, but that never came.
It bothered me that I was not performing my duties with love in my heart but rather out of a sense of doing it because there was no one else.  I asked my Rabbi about the commandment to honor thy mother and father and felt some relief in his explanation that this meant you must make sure they are cared for, their needs are met...not that you had to like the duties or them for that matter.  That made it a bit more palatable. 
Now in the Golden Years we find ourselves out from under the yoke of our parental responsibilities only to find our adult children are floundering due to bad choices they have made and need our help, with many of them returning to the nest to live.  Yikes!  When does this end?  Is this why women are so drawn to literature in which the heroine escapes and runs away to be on her own?  Is that the only way out, to cut the ties and head for the border?
Worse yet is wanting for family members to have the kind of life they themselves don't seem interested in.  There's that overall sense of failure that we suffer from, wondering if we didn't raise the kids right to whether or not we were loved by our parents.  It's just so confusing and frustrating.
So, I have decided after many years of letting my health go (I'd say sanity also, but that left a long time ago) to finally be proactive in my own health care.  
Tomorrow I will be revisiting Weight Watchers and work towards achieving a healthy weight.  This will make my garden season much more enjoyable (hopefully) as it will take the weight off my joints and allow me to breath easier.
I've looked at old photos recently and see myself trim and fit and then wonder who that old fat lady is in the current photos.  There's still a skinny girl inside of me - but I usually shut her up with cookies. Maybe it's time to let her come out and play again.
Long Live the Chubby Queen

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