March 28, 2006

The Right Stuff

I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. There are many tasks awaiting my attention, but I'm not particularly inspired to tackle much right now. Oh I've skirted the edges, done a bit of planning, but in reality I'm sliding by doing a whole lot of nothing.

Outside of helping my mom, that is. When she calls, I jump. I'm determined to be there for her as she adapts to the changes life has dumped on her.

But am I doing the right things?
I'd like to say yes, yes I am.
But part of me says no, no I'm not.

Wendy and I spent Saturday night and Sunday working around her house, doing things she needed done. Then Wendy went home and I stuck around for another night because she wanted me there for a meeting on Monday. All good so far, right?

But when she excitedly asked if I was going to watch Desperate Housewives with her, I said no. I went to bed instead, because it is what I wanted to do. Yet instead of going to sleep right away, I lay there feeling guilty for not keeping her company while she watched the show.

I know she's spending lots of time alone. Watching TV alone, cooking and eating meals alone, taking out the trash, sleeping, making the bed, doing laundry, sweeping the porch, watering the plants, and on and on with the endless cycle of tasks that make up life on this planet. Yes she has family. Yes she has friends. Yes she socializes. But no one is there to keep her company or lend a hand at home.

Knowing that, I still couldn't find it within myself to put off my personal quiet time long enough to watch a TV show with her. Instead I selfishly left her there alone, watching by herself.

Sure, I'm doing things for and with her, but am I doing the right things? I wonder.



Crystal A. Fox said...

I think in people's quests to make others happy and to meet the needs of their significant other's - people fail to recognize when they themselves need time. I think you did the right thing. For one, it doesn't seem like this is something that happens all of the time and two, everyone needs a little alone time to charge their battery.

The fact that you posted about this and are still thinking about it indicates that you are not a selfish person and that you truly care....


Anonymous said...

I say youre doing exactly what you should be doing. She needs time to adjust.
If she had wanted to talk or was upset, that would be different. But she needs to find her own balance and she wont do that until she gets to know herself - the her that is her without him.
Youre doing a great job, dont sweat it!

Anonymous said...

My mom is hard and getting harder every day. I don't know what more (or less) I could or should be doing. I listen, I read, I visit, I talk --I assure, that I'm there, whenever, whatever. Still....
I agree you need time for yourself and I know you feel guilty for taking it, try not to. Your mom sounds like she's comforted by your support in whatever form it is provided. She and you will get past this.

Anonymous said...

I haven't spoken to my mother in nearly a decade. It was a difficult-- if necessary-- decision. If she had made any effort in all these years to re-establish contact, things might have gone differently. I won't be there for her when/if she's alone because she has chosen to be absent from too much of my life for me to give her any more than I already have. I am selfish. You are not.

Your mother will find her own new place in the world and all you can do is love her, cherish your relationship and give as much of yourself as you can without giving up your own place in the world. You cannot lose yourself in order to help someone else. No one benefits from that. By taking some time for yourself, you'll have that much more to give back to her.

In other words, don't sweat the small stuff.

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

I know that guilt well... the feeling that I could do more, but should I? I don't want to, but I feel like I should, out of obligation. A very not-fun feeling. You're doing a lot already, you're entitled to a little me time.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are doing all the right things.
Your mother will eventually adjust to the single life.
If you feel you are doing the best you can, you are.
When my mom passed, I had no regrets that I didn't do enough. I did the best I could.
You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

my mom is alone too. so i understand completely. the first year was tough. she told me she needed to greive each season as it brought on different challenges. after a year ...perhaps a tad more she started to venture out again. she is now much happier and volunteering and getting more involved in general. altho i often think of her at times when say a big storm is coming or some big bit of news is going on - its important, especially for older folks, to be able to share those moments.