Feb 24, 2016

"Parenting" a Parent: The Beginning

Back in the day, when we were having babies, I remember that fleeting moment, when we’d find out the next baby was on the way, of wondering how am I going to handle one more?! Sometimes it’s not a new baby that God puts in our path.

It started out as any other day, that day a year and a half ago. It’s the end of summer, planning for the new homeschool year, getting the calendar organized with the all the usual activities coming up. Another child getting ready for college life. Gardening, goats, good times. In the previous week, David has been back and forth on the phone with his older brother. Their mother, who lived about an hour from her older son in Virginia, didn’t seem to be doing well but he couldn’t explain.   David called Mom and she sounded about the same as she usually did on their weekly phone calls. He tells her he’s flying out to Virginia the following week to visit her. We had discussed in the past that at some point she wasn’t going to be able to manage alone. She adamantly refused offers to move in with us, or her other son, or go to a nursing home. David thought it was time to make some decisions.  And then her friends started calling. And then THE call from his brother.  He’s at Mom’s house and she doesn’t look good. He’s taking her to the Urgent Care. David books the next flight out that he can. I remember feeling this was all surreal. I remember praying, “Lord, keep him safe and help him get there in time.”

And David is off. At the home front, we pray for Grandma. Lord, what do we do? And pray some more. The Hail Marys go flying off my lips over and over. David arrives in Virginia and his brother picks him up and takes him back to the house. He is shocked at what he sees. A woman who has traveled to all the continents, hiked up mountains, showered with elephants, changed airplanes more times than I’ve changed shoes, can’t get up out of her chair. The visit to the doctor didn’t reveal anything amiss. So they sit. Brother goes home. We talk on the phone. What to do? He tells her somehow, he’s going to have to get her here, to Michigan, at least temporarily. She’s refusing. They get through the evening, and David starts loading up her car with “important” stuff, not sure how or when. The next day he takes her to the E.R. Something has to be wrong. Nothing. The next morning is Sunday, and David calls as we are leaving for Mass. He thinks he should stay in VA and see her regular doctor on Monday. And that’s when it comes to me, “Get in the car and start driving. She needs to be here.” He puts her in the car, says, "I haven’t see the mountains, so let’s go take a look." And he drives. And drives some more.  And she realizes he’s on the “wrong road” to the mountains. And they continue home.

And so began our adventure in “parenting” a parent. Readjusting our lives to include one more. One more? How do we handle one more?! With the Grace of God we do. The ups and downs, the ins and outs, He is waiting for us to ask to be included. Reach out. Grab His hand and be blessed with His strength. Oma (German for Grandma), as she is now known, is healthy and thriving in her new home, here with us. Learning what it is to live our faith. One. Day. At. A. Time. With one more.

To be continued...


  1. This is thought provoking as our folks age and needs change. I wish mine lived a whole lot closer,but I think they've got quite a bit of independence left before the next stage.

  2. We're not there yet with our parents, but I'm going to be tucking in all the nuggets of wisdom you share here. Love your heart and your generosity, Lorij!!!! :)


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