Posted by: Little Miss | November 23, 2007

The Grand Parenting Fatigue Syndrome

When you can experience this…

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Wouldn’t it make all the pain, aches, and exhaustion worthwhile?

For me, it does. The last few days have been all about pushing through the pain and exhaustion so that I can be there for my daughter and her new baby and the rest of her sweet family. In two days, I’ve driven over 250 miles. I’ve babysat an active 2-1/2 year old and a six year old, and chauffeured my mother to and from her home so she could join us for Thanksgiving. I’ve done more housework than I usually do at my own home.

I’m not mentioning all this so I can get pats on the back for being a martyr or any such thing. I have this deep desire to be there for my kids and to participate fully in life – as fully as I can – so I push through the pain and the fatigue because I know that someday I’ll be able to catch up on the rest.

Lately, though, as I do these things, I’ve also been pondering my own relationship with my mother – both looking back on past events and looking forward to the future. Finally, I had a moment of clarity last night as I dropped her off at her door. It seems to me that as she gets older, she becomes more distant and disconnected from me and any sense of family I have with her. I don’t know if this is because she’s 87, because she’s not my biological mother, or because she never had any kids of her own. She “got me” when I was 2-1/2, the youngest of three, and the only girl.  My mother is also forty years older than me, so at 42 she gained an immediate family of three active toddlers.

I’m not sure I understand the changes happening between my mother and me, and I know she loves me and I love her. She’s never been an expressive person or touchy-feely. But what these changes bring to me is an added determination to be ever closer to my daughters, to be there for them whenever they need me, and to make sure that I create the sense of family I always longed to have with my mother. That’s all I can do.

So I push through the pain and fatigue, because parenting is a grand thing. A blessing. A privilege. An honor. And that makes grand parenting the best role of all. And I love every minute of it.

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Responses

  1. Congratulations!!!!!!!!! He’s GORGEOUS! Hope everything went well for you all. And yes ma’am.. it is DEFINITELY worth it to push on through.

    Also, it isn’t only our senses of taste, smell, and touch that fade with old age. A large majority of folks also lose their deep compassion, love, understanding, patience… all the emotions we tend to take for granted. One of Dad’s friends comes to mind hearing this… he use to be the happiest man you ever met. Always a smile on his face. Now his own kids can’t stand to be around him he’s so hateful and rude.

    So yes… build those bonds now cause Lord knows how we will be in our old age. I think I’m going to start apoligizing now for whatever I may become, ha, ha.

  2. You’re amazing, and your family is so lucky to have you!

    I know your mother knows how much you love and appreciate her. As I see my own mother aging, it seems that she’s become more aware of her own mortality and the revolving door of life. It’s made her disconnect a little– like she’s observing more and participating less. I hope it’s temporary. I plan to be a giant pain in everyone’s ass as I age– I won’t disconnect until they pull the plug!

  3. Tammy, MBMQ: Thank you both. Sincerely. Yesterday and last night have been rough – the flareup that I expected really hit hard. But it’s so worth it. And I told my daughter – who is so mature, it’s unreal – about some of what I see with my mom and she said, “Ya, it’s sad, but it’s just part of life.” I plan to be the mom to her I never had, and be the “nerd” my daughter lovingly calls me (which I get from my father, btw) until I drop dead at 102.

  4. MBMQ – Meant to also say, I hope the disconnection with your mother is temporary also. Glad you got home safely.


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