Some time ago, I called a friend in the midst of a crying mini nervous breakdown about how I could not handle my life. Her immediate response was, hire help.
As a serious do it yourselfer, I could see the wisdom of her suggestion but it seemed expensive and just not quite natural. Well, six months or so later, and after a few different kinds of scares, I am finally taking her advice. We just met with a home caregiver service who will be sending someone later this week.
It will be an adjustment for me but adjusting to things that do not feel normal are what this seems to be all about. And the relief of both knowing that Mom will have consistent support and me getting some help with the never-ending laundry pile is sounding more and more awesome.
So, I have a full time job. And I need it to pay the rent, the student loans and the rest of the nonsense.
Mom no longer is interested in such things. She likes her ice cream and watching movies with me. Every day she asks what I am doing tomorrow and about 4 of 5 times that I say I have to go to work, she suggests that I call in sick. She even typically suggests that she could do the call for me since I think she imagines me unable to fake sickness as effectively. She does some terrible fake coughs to demonstrate her superior faking sick abilities.
Sometimes it is tempting of course. A free parentally endorsed sick pass– what I would have given for that 25 years ago! Sometimes I wish so much that I could stay home and treasure this last mostly good period with her. Though there’s a lot if stress for me, we spend a lot of time joking and in happy shared moments. I know Mom treasures her time with me. She looks forward to when I come home from work to hang out with her. She loves holidays and snow days when I am home all day. And mostly I do too; calling in sick for the year sometimes sounds pretty right on.
Tonight Mom and I were out running errands and I needed to stop by my office to pick up a file I had forgotten. I suggested that she come in with me rather than sitting in the cold car.
The visit quickly brought back memories of my own visits to my father’s office as a little kid. Mom hopped on one of the office swivel chairs and started spinning around. She was enjoying herself. We looked at a couple of the things up on my walls and discussed them and how they related to my job. It was a nice bonding moment and yet raised the changed roles between us in a rather pronounced way.
The better moment of the evening came though because I introduced Mom to one of my colleagues who was working late. After we left, I told Mom a little more about the woman she had just met and explained that I am her boss. Mom looked at me and remarked, “you are the boss of a lot of people,” clearly including herself in that list. She liked this comment so much she started clapping.
I would not have used “boss” as a description of my relationship to Mom but I suppose it is a fair point. If so, Mom is definitely the most challenging of the people I supervise. Thankfully, she is also the funniest.