As I am walking out the door to get myself and kids flu shots, I see a message on my phone. As I listen to the voice mail, my husband reminds me we only have a half-hour to get to the doc-in-a-box before it closes. It is the only one in the area that even had flu shots left.
The voice mail is from the director at my parent’s retirement community. She is calling me from her home to let me know that the staff saw my parents leave in a cab after they refused to serve them wine with dinner.
I quickly call the town home and my mom answers. “Mom, what’s up?” – I try to say as calmly as I can manage. My mom whispers “I don’t know why we are here, you father wanted to come. I know we shouldn’t be here.”
I offer to drive over pick them up and take them back to their retirement community. I’m relieved to hear my mom knows they should not be at the townhouse, but flustered that they are there. My mom tells me my dad is in bed and she does not think he will go back tonight. She asks if she should she put him on the phone; I manage to reply “Sure”.
In the background, my husband understands what is going on and starts on his way to get the kids in the car. I feel my blood pressure increasing. My patience has been replaced by aggravation.
As I speak with my dad, I can hear the stress in my voice. All I wanted to do was go get my children flu shots and now I’m concerned about my parent’s safety at their town house. My dad tells me they came to the town house because this is where they live. In the background my husband is loading the kids into the car and backing out the driveway.
So many emotions are rolling through my head. Anger, dismay, concern, frustration. My dad says to me “I don’t understand why you are so upset.” During this conversation, I’m flagging my husband down to let me in the car so I can get my flu shot. I tell my dad I’m too overwhelmed to even begin to answer his question now.
My dad asks me for a ride tomorrow, I tell him yes. It’s inconvenient how my parents are behaving. While I know they don’t realize the duress they are causing me and my family, I am not yet ready to cut off the support I can extend to them to help them make this transition. But I recognize, most days, my parents are not interested in trying to make any transition. They want everything to stay the same.
The manner in which they react to any help or concern some days seems like they are trying to make it easy for me to walk away. Troubled.