Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two Short White Buses - SOL, March 18

When I returned to school after my mom's most recent surgery, my principal asked me how things were going.  I shared that some days were good while others were a bit more difficult.  We chatted about how elderly parents who are rehabbing from a surgery or injury have many needs and have to relearn a multitude of new skills.

He told me about a sight he had seen recently, and the analogy of what he said has really stuck with me the past few weeks.

He was driving down the road and as he stopped at a light, he saw two short white bus/vans cross the road side by side, in front of him.  One was a white daycare van; the other was a white elderly daycare van.  This scene visually drove home for him the point of how life comes full circle.

When our children are young, they have many needs and demands that, as parents, we have a responsibility to navigate.  They can't care for themselves because they don't have all the skills required, not to mention the safety issues of leaving them alone, so working parents need the help of daycare professionals, and sometimes that means having children transported on the white daycare van.

The flip side of that coin is that when our parents are older, they might have health issues or limitations that don't allow them to be the independent adults they once were.  Again, for working adult children, sometimes the need for professional assistance to help take care of their parents is there, for both safety and health reasons.  That might even mean a trip or excursion for the parents on a white daycare van.

This conversation has been a bittersweet revelation to me as I've pondered the cycle of life the past few weeks and months.  My parents, rather they realize it or not, have been just as dependent on my brother and me at times, as my daughters were when they were toddlers.  It leaves me feeling a combination of humbled, overwhelmed, and grateful.

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  1. A humbling road we are all traveling. Long live white vans, their drivers, the providers they are escorting their occupants to and from!

  2. Karen,
    Taking care of elderly parents can be challenging. Thankfully there are many resources available to help with that. Your analogy speaks to this "full circle" part of life. I remember when my grandparents were struggling with their health. I felt like helping them was somehow showing them how much I appreciated the way they cared for me when I was young --- another way life comes full circle.

    When our children are young we look for the perfect places for them to be, and I suppose the same is true as our parents age. Thinking of you as you navigate these challenges.


  3. I am and will be always grateful for the care my husband received when I could no longer give it to him. I had less responsibility for my mother and that fell mostly to my brother because they live so far away. I only helped in the larger decisions with my mom, and talked to my brother often. I hope you will find good people to help you when and if you need someone Karen. Thinking of you often!

  4. The image of those two vans will stay with me too. I hope your Mom's hip is healing well. Humbled, overwhelmed and grateful sure sums up the swirl of emotions care taking can bring.

  5. Karen,
    Really needed this post this morning. About two weeks ago, we moved my mom from a hospital rehab unit to an apartment in a senior living facility. We are realizing now that even that is not enough, so today she is moving to a different part of that facility, where there is more care and support. A really rough two weeks. Thank you.

  6. I love that image of the two buses. I can relate and I've been thinking about this topic a lot the past couple of weeks. The buses gives a good visual to my thinking. Thank you.

  7. This post really sums up the challenge of the sandwich generation - caring for our kids and our parents in many different yet similar ways. I wish your mom quick healing!