Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Technology for Seniors

Doug’s Blog has an article by Bob Moos of The Dallas Morning News on various forms of technology that can help Gen Sandwichers keep track of their parents—video cams, smart medicine bottles, and more. If you worry about how your parent is managing, especially if you live a distance from them, check out some of these gadgets. I've asked my brother who understands these things to help decide what would be best in Mom's situation. Anyone have ideas? Anyone used any of these?

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

When Collaboration is Important

I had an interesting call from my brother tonight. He’s worried about Mom, and he may have good reason. He’s been getting very different information from Mom than I have. Seems that she has had some falls she didn’t tell me about. Of course, she believes I’d start trying to move her to assisted living. And I might. Or harass her even more to use her cane. He’s also hearing more depression in her communication than I am. It appears that’ she’s pretty untruthful with me when it suits her purposes.

So, this brings up an important point. If there is more than one sibling, each should pay attention to what Mom or Dad are saying and then compare notes. You’ll get a more complete picture of the status of your aging parents than relying on your information alone.

The other side of that is knowing how much independence to allow her. Do we insist on moving her before she hurts herself, or give her the honor of making her own decisions until she’s clearly unsafe. It’s so hard to know!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Remodeling the Empty Nest

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D., founder of HerMentorCenter, (a website for midlife women) and Nourishing Relationshps, (a blog for the Sandwich Generation), has written an interesting article about moving on as your kidults move out.

This struck me as timely. Our son was married last summer, and we’ve just decided to remodel our living room and a couple of bedrooms, including his. Most of this work is much needed deferred maintenance. Carpet and furniture that needed to be replaced many years ago, updating a 70s-looking living room. But we also need to do his room, replacing his twin bed and desk with a queen bed—which will just about fill the room. After all, we want them to be comfortable when they visit.

Once we made the decision, my husband began with a vengeance, and before the kids came up for our trip to DC, he plunged in and starting removing all vestiges of our very sentimental Son, who would prefer that we enshrine his room forever. I was pretty concerned that we should wait and let him do it, but we knew that wouldn’t happen anytime soon. I called DDIL and told her to warn him that his room had been decimated. He handled it well, but I could tell that he was grappling with the end of an era just as we were. The difference is that he’s moving on to the beginning of his life and we are winding down, losing the focus of the past 23 years.

But before we go, we’re going to update and make our home something to enjoy. Now, to make all those dozens of decisions. Something I’m not very good at…

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stress in Women

The American Psychological Association has published a great article called Being Supermom Stressing You Out? It offers suggestions for women who are being stretched by caring for children and aging parents. They warn us against unhealthy stress. Check it out.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture

I’ve been reading Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture by Mary E. DeMuth as part of her blog tour. Since some of you are parents of school age children, I thought it was worth reviewing here. Mary offers lots of practical parenting hints, illustrated with stories of her family. I especially like the many short subchapters within each chapter. Makes for an easy book to pick up and read a page or two in the midst of a busy schedule.

Mary talks about the different culture that children today are being raised in. Postmodernism has in some ways become the bogeyman, the cultural expression no one knows how to deal with. While it’s true that as parents we always need to be aware of the culture our children are living in, I’m not convinced that postmodernism is a lot different than modernism. I raised my son in the 80s and 90s, and implemented almost every tip Mary gives. I guess good parenting is good parenting, whatever the cultural expression.

That being said, Mary gives us a lot of good reminders about communicating with our kids and giving them the opportunity to reason and work through their own decisions. If you have children, you’ll want to take a look at this book. You can get an autographed copy directly from Mary at RelevantBlog. If you'd like to read an excerpt from the book, click here.

As I was reading the book, I realized that many of her tips are also useful for parenting our parents. If we can remember to be authentic with them, to ask questions, and not be as dogmatic as we might be tempted to be, we’ll find that we get along better with our parents. Especially those who are becoming “young” in their mental and behavioral abilities….

There are several other bloggers participating in the Authentic Parenting Tour this week. To see what they have to say, visit any of these sites.

A Latte and Some Words
Chat ‘n’ Chew Cafe
Experiencing the Journey
Fabric, Paper, Thread
Fictional Journey
Haruah - Breath of Heaven
I Wish You Enough
Leanna Ellis
Margaret Daley
Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals
Raindancer’s Map of Memories
Robyn’s Ramblings
See Ya On the Net
Sormag Online Tours
The Authentic You
The Spiritual Mom
Why Didn’t You Warn Me?
Write from my Heart

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Traveling with the Kidults has an article on creating special family vacations with your family. Great idea if you can manage it.

Our family has just implemented The Grammy Trip, even though we aren’t grandparents yet. The tradition comes from some friends, where the matriarch of the family rotates each year taking one of her adult children and their extended families on a wonderful vacation. It’s an opportunity for three—and now four--generations to enjoy an extended time together.

Well, coming from a family with no money and no traditions, I decided that the Grammy Trip was worth replicating. When our son got married last year, we offered to start The Grammy Trip with he and his wife, and eventually their children. He’s grown up watching his friends, the third generation, take these trips, so he was game. So was his wife, who hasn’t traveled a lot.

So we just got back from two weeks of our first Grammy Trip. It was quite an experience. We celebrated their first anniversary with a trip to Washington, DC. Her choice. After all, she’s the new kid.

We blocked off two weeks—no easy feat for any of us—and left in mid-July. We hit the ground running and didn’t stop for two full weeks. Seriously. We took a red eye from California, arriving at Dulles at 5:20 am. Got the rental car, had breakfast, and in the first day—with no sleep and jet lag—visited Harpers Ferry, Antitum, and Gettysburg. Each day was filled to the brim with things to see and places to go. One day we looked at the map and realized we could be in Philadelphia in an hour. No matter that it was already 5:30 on Sunday evening. None of us had been there, and perhaps we could see something. Of course, everything was closed, but we were able to see the outside of Independence Hall, Ben Franklin’s grave, and the Liberty Bell through the window. Not great, but better than nothing. And we only spent an hour there before heading south to Mt. Vernon.

So how was it traveling with married kids? Interesting. Challenging. Eventually wonderful. We had some bumps as each of us tried to find our place in the new family dynamics. Our family has traveled together since Son was an infant and we mesh well. Adding our DIL meant each of the four of us needed to adjust, flex, and adapt. It took a few days—most of the first week, in fact. But by the second week, we were synchronizing better and I think everyone had a wonderful time. We have declared the Grammy Trip a success and can’t wait to see where we’ll go next year.

I’m praying that this will be that start of a wonderful tradition for our family. I wish we could have taken my mom, but she wouldn’t be able to handle the walking, and quite frankly, I’m a little selfish when it comes to time with my kids. We’ll need to find another way to include her.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Favorite Mom Quotes

Checklist Charlie has a cute post of her favorite “Mom” quotes—words of wisdom from her mom and others.

While I can’t think of any quotes from my mom that have influenced me positvely, here’s one from my dad:

“Do the thing you fear the most.” I used this frequent admonition as a sophomore in high school, after moving from my childhood home in Wyoming and entering my third high school in California. I was so painfully shy that school was a horror for me. Being in a new school just exacerbated the problem. That year I decided I couldn’t live this way any more and signed up for a public speaking class—truly the thing I feared the most. As I learned the skills, I found I wasn’t bad and actually enjoyed it. I went from the class to forensics—competitive speaking—and did fairly well. Now I’m a professional speaker! All because I was willing to do the thing I feared the most.

I hope that my son will remember and live by the words I prayed for him every night of his childhood: “Become the man God created you to be.” It’s been a joy watching him over the years and especially now since he is a kidult. He truly is becoming the unique and wonderful man God created him to be.

What are some of the words you live by?

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