On Family vs. Friends
As I toss and turn on the eve of leaving my familial duties in Md, to enjoy the familial joys of visiting my grandbabies, I wonder about the connections of families vs. friends.
It seems that at this moment our lives are in two totally different directions, ‘cause while the two of you are playing “keep away” from family, I seem to be entrenched in mine. I get to be the sibling trying to coerce other siblings, just like you two, to do their familial duty. Do I want to be the one here caring for my aging parent? No… do I want to be the one doing the coercing? No. Do I want to be 3 months away from my spouse? No…. then why am I here? Do I have an overdeveloped sense of loyalty to a parent? I don’t think so…. I have just as many issues with that parent as my siblings do. Is it because I’m the oldest, and thus have received more brainwashing about the fact that family is everything, and that they’re what you can count on, and that you should be doing your part? Possibly….
Is it because I think of my husband, sitting in Denver, with NO family connections at all any more? When I think of the family gatherings I’ve been to here (and I’m the only sibling that seems to take mom to those gatherings), and then I think of him all alone there, I wonder which one really counts more in the long run… family (whom I’ve known all my life – even though I may not be close to them – the cousins who have the same colored eyes, and stubborn Pollock attitude, the siblings who first run the other way, then try to take over everything,)… or do friends count more in the long run. Ken can’t take his support group with him to Denver, but he’s quickly creating another one of his own. But would that new support group know how to notify me if something happened to him while I’m back east? On the other hand, would the family here know how to notify him if something happened to me here?
For me right now, the question comes down to… who will I be able to go to when I’m homeless after December, and the unemployment checks run out? Will I be able to count on friends? Would family put me up? For how long?
Yeah, JR… I’m sure future employers smell family entanglements on me in my interviews, thus decreasing my chances of success in obtaining that elusive employment. Although I’ve managed to continue the job search while entangled (I truly don’t know how, and I’m not sure of the quality of resumes/letters I’ve sent out), I know that I lost out on at least one or two interviews due to being “in transition”. And the couple I have received phone interviews for, haven’t gone any further… I’m not sure if there’s something in my voice giving away the fact that I wouldn’t be truly able to put my heart and soul into a job at this moment, …
So should the answer be to run away from family commitments, and let my mother stew in her own inadequacies? Will I be happy if my kids do that to me in my old age? If they are too busy with their lives to make sure that I am not overdosing my self with the wrong medicines due to dementia? Have I raised my kids to have compassion for the elderly? Time will tell… (too soon)..
But then… should my whole life be on hold while I tend to my aging parent?
Wherein lies the right answer? It just makes me appreciate the fact that we were able to have my in-laws next door to us, and able to pay a caretaker for them, AND I had a job that I was familiar at, and able to do in my sleep… but how I’ll survive this year…. I truly wonder….