As a “new” mom (8mos postpartum), I’ve been learning a lot about control. My baby literally relies on me for everything: to be fed, nurtured, changed, put to sleep.. all of it. Even when they’re tired and sleep seems like the only answer, little ones can’t figure out what to do without help. A routine has been key – another thing I obviously control (he couldn’t if he wanted to at this age!). I imagine that while this part of motherhood is only a season, it’ll last for quite a bit of time. What I can’t understand, however, is at what point we’ll switch places; when do adult children decide it’s appropriate or beneficial to control their parents?
Let me be clear: ensuring our loved ones are safe is of utmost importance. It’s top priority and I already know as a daughter (and the first born), I’ll be all over whatever it takes to keep my dad safe as he ages. Controlling him is another story.
I have endless examples of attempts at managing an elderly parent’s everyday life, all of which baffle me. Most recently, my team and I were talking about a budding relationship between two residents. They’re exceptionally respectful of and caring toward one another. They’re both noticeably happier since having found each other, and we feel honored to be witnessing their love story unfold. This nonna’s kids, though? If they knew, they’d be devastated. I don’t like to assume, but I believe in my heart that they’d make her feel absolutely awful and ashamed about the relationship if they found out about it. The thought alone is heartbreaking. Why?
I once had a resident who, well into her 90s, was no longer interesting in keeping Kosher. That was of course her choice and her right. Her attorney daughter, on the other hand, was livid. She drew up an agreement that she wanted me to sign stating that we would only serve her mom Kosher style food. The attorney daughter that I am, I amended our contract and promised to offer her Kosher food. Whether or not she chose those options was entirely up to this nonna. Again, why?
A fellow director shared a story with me last week about a nonna of hers who likes to occasionally sleep in (same, nonna, same). She recently snoozed until almost noon, and her children were beside themselves. Per the key card records from said resident’s door, it was determined that her caregiver checked on her five times throughout the morning, each time being shooed away so she could catch more Zs. Her daughters went as far as to say it was neglectful that they let her rest. Why?
I can’t stress enough how much I understand and appreciate the innate need to do what’s in our power to keep our loved ones safe. What I can’t comprehend, though, is how, why, or when we decide it’s appropriate or beneficial to try to control certain aspects of their lives. While he can do no wrong (love that little mamma’s boy!), if Leo tried to pull that with me, I know I wouldn’t be happy.