My parents are interesting people. Have you gotten to the point yet where you realize you may be parenting your parents? Eventually, the tables turn. My dad will once a week casually forget to take ALL his morning medicines. The man has heart and blood pressure issues. I don’t know how to respond to this. I don’t know how to parent my parents without pulling all my hair out.
My mom will not go to physical therapy for her back problem. She’s a doctor! Physician heal thyself!
I finally get it. I am beginning to understand what it must have like raising a brat like me.
I don’t have kids, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent of small children. I do understand what it is like taking care of ‘older’ people like my parents. Forgive me, my father was appalled because the neighbors called him and my mother an ‘elderly couple.’ “Who is elderly?…do I look elderly?…I’m young!” This was my father’s response.
“Did Trump quit yet?” my dad asked earlier this week. “He is not even endorsing Ryan, what is his problem?” My dad talks about politicians as if they are his friends. Nothing lately gets this 73- year-old man as riled up as much as Donald Trump. “He is unfit. Obama said he is unfit. Did you hear that? The top CIA agent said he is dangerous for our country!”
Funny, my parents didn’t need to hear it from the president or the top intelligence man, they had assessed that Trump was an idiot when he was firing people for fun. “You are fired! How rude!” my mother remarked years ago.
My mother will tell me to be careful outside when there is a terrorist attack in Germany. There was a school shooting once, at this point unfortunately, I don’t remember which one; I was going to go out to dinner with my friends. My mom was upset that I was not in mourning. She didn’t understand how I could have fun on a day like that.
Do you see my frustration here?
Even if the Trumpocalypse happens, I will go on with my life. I get my news from Facebook the Daily Show, Bill Maher and John Oliver. I have to see these tragedies humorously or else I will become a tragedy. “If he becomes president we are moving to India,” my mother will say very confidently. You can’t argue with that.
My parents were the first people to come to this country in their families and they brought their entire extended families here. They had to fight to survive their entire lives. They take life quite seriously.
But they are not without humor. My dad likes to give out what I call platitudes. “Every white powder, from salt, to sugar to cocaine is going to kill you. If it is a white powder it will kill you.” It’s sort of true, except he uses baby powder, but I’m not going to ruin his theory he has spent a lifetime creating. And I’m sure they will find out that baby powder will kill you too. The reason my dad uses baby powder is because he found out that deodorant causes Alzheimers.
My theory, being a bit extreme I admit, is that everything, including breathing the dirty air, causes death. When I’m eighty I’m going to start doing Crack, because why not? I’m gonna die anyways, I might as well have fun doing it. Although crack is whack, I think I would prefer Cocaine.
Speaking of Cocaine, sometimes I think my parents are on it. My mom likes to experiment with cleaners. I once saw her cleaning the garage floor with Shout, the laundry stain remover. When asked what the hell she was doing, her response was “Shout works for everything, why do you think the toilet is so shiny!” It’s sort of equivalent to the Windex theory in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the father believes that Windex can do everything but cure cancer.
There are things my parents can no longer unfortunately do, like go grocery shopping or do some household chores. They have to rely on my undisciplined ass to vacuum and sweep and mop. “I’ll do it later,” is my mantra. I will make any excuse to get out of grocery shopping. I simply hate it. It’s weird cause I love to eat and I love to shop. I should love it. My parents hate my procrastination more than they hate Donald Trump and ISIS combined. “Not now!” they will chant to me even before they ask me to do some chore.
They make me go to Walmart because it’s the cheapest. Since Walmart is basically abusing their employees, I’m actually embarrassed to say I go there and support them. But I’m not spending my money in this case. Honestly, I think since they don’t pay their employees well, they don’t train them very well either. If you ask someone in the shoe department where the garbage bags are, there could be some walkie-talkie action and some serious dumb looks on people’s faces. My parent’s response to all of this: “It’s the cheapest.”
They are not cheap though, they are frugal. My blind father wants to buy an 80-inch plasma T.V. for the living room. “It’s the best,” he will say. Will he buy it full price? Not on your life. If something is not on sale, they don’t understand buying it. “Let’s google the best one for the best price!” my dad will always say.
My mom will talk to everybody and anybody, strangers and acquaintances alike. My dad will not talk to anybody unless he’s comfortable with them. It’s a perfect marriage. After some forty odd years, apparently, they still like each other. I would not hesitate to say they are still in love. Which grosses me out, and makes me happy at the same time.
Yes, sometimes they forget things and repeat themselves. I don’t mind because before I knew any language, they listened to me talk gibberish and they didn’t complain. In fact, they enjoyed it. It’s time for me to be their voice when they cannot speak anymore.
My parents have trouble with technology. I don’t mind anymore being patient with them and teaching them how to use these new fangled devices. They did, after all, teach me how to use how to use my brain.
They will not pay their bills online. They watch the news. Hackers are all around us. They trust paper, people have been using it since the dawn of civilization. I think they assume online banking is a trend. They don’t have an ATM card for this reason. They like checks, not machines. For you millennials, a check is…google it.
I am in denial that they will die one day. I would rather that not happen. Before that happens, it’s time for me to cherish mopping the floor for them and picking up their prescriptions from the drugstore. I should think of it as service, I don’t do anything else for anyone. It’s time for me to cherish their paranoia and fears. Their quirks are what make them unique. I will miss laughing at them, with them, for them.
I’m pretty convinced no one else will love me as much as they do. Most of the time I take that for granted. In moments like these, I reflect on the fact that they are phenomenal people. They made me who I am. I if I consider myself a phenomenal woman, then they get the credit for that.
They are good people. They are smart people. I can only hope to have an iota of the wisdom and integrity they have.