We have taken care of everything so this won’t happen to you.

This statement haunts me. My mom said this to me and my siblings for more than 20 years.

First my mom’s mom lived with us before she needed full-time care in the ‘70s. In the ‘80s, my dad’s mom “lost her focus” and my grandfather needed help caring for his wife of 60-plus years. While this was happening, my mom kept saying, “Don’t worry, we have taken care of everything so this won’t happen to you.”

Well, here we are. It’s not that we don’t want to help, it’s that my parents didn’t recognize or covered up the fact that they needed our help for so long that I feel a little betrayed.

My siblings and I all see this as an honor. We want to give back to my parents all that they have given us. We want them to be safe and be able to enjoy every day of their lives.

So the crazy little secret is that when this happens to you, you probably won’t know, or at least won’t recognize the extent of your limits.

So to my kids, please know that every day I’m working on taking care of things so that when I need your help, I will recognize and accept it with grace and humor. Determined.

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