"Why can't we go with you?" my daughter asked. I was in my way out the door to drive to my grandpa's house in Eastern Washington. My mom was on her way there after he had been sent home to wait out the end of his life.
"Isn't Grandma your mom? Aren't moms supposed to take care of the kids?"
"Well, as you grow up, sometimes that changes. When you're a kid, parents take care of you. But as you get older, that starts to flip, and the kids start to take care of the parents. It's just the way life works."
And so it does. I'm here at Grandpa's and it's hard. But I'm also glad I'm here.
Grandpa can't keep any food down so he doesn't want to eat. His breathing is difficult. And when he sleeps, he has apnea and stops breathing for 30 seconds or so at a time. It's funny how you can be so attuned to something as quiet as breathing. But you notice it when it's gone, so you do.
My step-grandma's kids have all gone home. So from now till I go home tomorrow, I'm the only person here under the age of 60.
In every stressful situation that exists, someone has to be the strong one. The one that keeps their head, the one that exerts a mite of authority. The one that stays in control, minds the prescription schedule, maintains order.
Who that is changes, but today it's me.
There's a certain pressure when that's your role, isn't there? Because you cannot lose it. And maybe that's just as well because the pressure helps you keep it together.
Still, maybe sometimes you need to lose it just a little. A neighbor came over a little while ago to check on Grandpa, a nice man about my age. When he left, I walked him out to the gate to thank him for keeping an eye on things, and couldn't stop the tears from coming to my eyes. I had to stop and have a good little cry with myself before going back inside and being in charge again.
And to listen to more about the Mexicans.