Which one of you keeps telling us to move to the retirement home?

Every Sunday morning, the kids and I meet my parents for breakfast. My parents want to see the grandkids and I want my kids to be able to spend time with my parents. Mornings are better than evenings to visit with them.  My dad usually asks what we’ve been up to the past week. Most times, when I return the question, they struggle to recall where they even ate dinner the night before.

This week, my mom wondered which one of us (I’m one of four) keeps telling them to move into the retirement community full-time. We all know that would be the safest place for them, but my brothers have been telling them repeatedly for the past few months while my sister and I sit in neutral positions. I almost feel like the more we tell them to do something, the less likely they are to do it.

When my mom poses the question, it’s rhetorical. She never waits for an answer and will start listing all the reasons they can’t move to the retirement community full-time. My dad will layer in some additional commentary supporting my mom’s points. It’s a list I know well. I used to engage and provide easy solutions to the problems, but most often it turned into a heated debate. I mentally pledged to myself to stop engaging in this discussion. I’m happy to share that I have not taken the bait in many months.

It’s an odd dance we play. Some days I realize I’m dancing with ghosts of my parents and other days, I get to dance with MY parents. My kids will never really get to know the parents I grew up with. My mom was fearless and gracious, while my dad was driven and playful. Some days a topic comes up and I will tell a story from my childhood and I know my kids get to see my parents as I did growing up. Pleased.