Have you ever been so happy to return home from a trip that you almost busted out with a happy dance and kissed the ground when you landed? I sure have - once when I returned home from South Korea with my Army unit and almost every time I come back from visiting my parents.
Not that I don't love my parents. God knows I do, but.....over the last few years going home has morphed into this angst-filled, hand-wringing, exercise in frustration. I can't pinpoint what exactly makes it this way now because nothing bad happens really. It's just stressful now and there's always so much DRAMA. Oh, the DRAMA!
We've never been the type of family who gathers around the kitchen table and plays board games while happily reminiscing about the "good 'ol times" - probably because we haven't experienced many "good 'ol times". My father suffered a major stroke when he was 48, when I was in the 5th grade and my brother and sister were in college. My mother carried the family financially and even though we didn't go without much, I know the stress of taking care of my dad and being the sole bread-winner took it's toll on both of them.
My parents are now in their mid-seventies, and they both have so many health problems that I've lost track of them all. Conversations revolve around doctor's visits, the latest aches and pains, and which one of their close friends have kicked the bucket. Yet they do NOTHING to help themsleves feel better. They think take out pizza is a healthy meal and a huge piece of cake is an completely appropriate bedtime snack. To top it all off - my mom smokes like a fucking train. It's enough to make me want to slam my head into a brick wall.
To utter a word about their chosen lifestyle or shitty habits is equivilent to shooting oneself in the foot - so I bite my tongue, hold my breath and repeat calming mantras over and over in my head.
I guess what I'm beginning to experience is just the norm with aging parents. I'm trying to accept my mom's growing grumpiness and constant irritation with the world and everyone in it. I'm trying to accept the fact that my dad is totally incapable of making it on his own if something happens to my mom, yet he's totally against the idea of moving in with any of us so we can take care of him. As my dad always says, "getting old is the shits" Yeah dad, it sure is.
On a little brighter note - I did see the Medium I mentioned in my last post. It was a pretty awesome experience overall. I'll write about it soon - I'm still trying to process the whole experience. If some of the things she said do come true - my life is in for a big change.