Mom is now in a senior’s home. She’s been asking for for several months, and a recent turn of events, and the progression of her dementia and short-term memory loss made for necessary quick decisions.
Although I thought her being with me was the best for her, I’ve had to come to terms that as my life gets busier, and my children move out of the nest, she needs companionship, and soon, 24 hour attention.
The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas!
I took this photo above in our front room on one of our rare snowy and chilly nights just days ago. It looks like Christmas perfection, and luckily my head elf / youngest daughter got us moving towards Christmas this year by picking out the perfect tree, decorating, and even doing a lot of the shopping and wrapping for us!
I’ve been reexamining Christmas and what it means to me, in particular as our world changes so rapidly around us. Although I was raised Catholic, on the surface Christmas appears to be a day we work towards, to come together and share gifts we’ve purchased or made, and eat, drink and be merry. The time together is the real gift however, and it’s should be done more often. I am grateful that Christmas gets us all together, but I am becoming more of the mindset to just leave all the present shopping for birthdays!
My children are all young adults now, and it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Christmas Letter. This year marks over 5 years that I have been back in Canada after life in The Bahamas, and no regrets. I love being home and I love my country.
My mother Corae has been living with us since September 2015 and all is going well. She turns 83 on December 23rd. For those that do not use Facebook, mom’s become quite the star as I share stories about her under the hashtag #ParentingOurParents. They are tiny little excerpts of my life as I grapple with trying to be a good daughter, while what seems to be, ‘parenting’ my aging parent.
This year The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, and I took my ex husband Brian into my home! For those not aware, Brian has Parkinsons, and his health spiraled downhill rather rapidly this summer. He’s been back in Canada since October and although glad to be home, and with family, he has a long road ahead. I’ve been helping him transition back to the real world as he awaits his new healthcare assessments. He’s improved a lot just by being here.
My eldest Loryn (26 years) is now a married working woman, and is speeding through life not only on the snowboarding slopes, but she’s progressing very quickly in her career as a banker. Go see her at HSBC if you are looking to invest. She and Lorraine (a nurse) have purchased their first home, as well as their first car. The girls live conveniently just down the road from us.
Tohni (now 24 yrs) has been enjoying life in the fast lane and lives in East Vancouver. She’s in a great relationship with Patrick and has been co-managing a fun restaurant called The General Public on Main Street in Vancouver. Do stop in to see her, she’ll give you a super discount. This year Tohni worked her butt off so she could take in as many music festivals as she could over the summer, and traveled a couple times to the USA.
Nathen (22-yrs-old) is studying now at Simon Fraser University and is working at Vision Electronics. Go see him, he’ll also give you a good deal! While taking on a full course load, he managed to move out last month, so his life is full of responsibility. He lives just up the hill from us. His present goal is to become a chiropractor like his father, but he said he’ll see how things progress.
Jackie (20-yrs) is the last egg in the nest and has been a huge support around the house with helping take care of her grandmother and father. She’s been working at Dynamite women’s clothing at Coquitlam Centre and is still keeping up as the voice of the ‘community calendar’ on 98.7 FM. She can be heard every hour, on the hour at ckpmfm.com.
As for me, life is full on! I’m still working TheBahamasWeekly.com and this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I had hoped to get back for a celebration but the hurricane took care of that. I’ve taken on several other clients that I do writing or social media work for.
This year I was elected president of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society which manages a salmon enhancement program in the woods near my house. I love my volunteer work there, and have been furthering the HSWS public relations by building and managing a new website, Youtube and social media accounts. Check us out at hoyscottcreeks.org.
I’ve just completed my first year of dragon boating with the 50+ Nothin’ Dragon Masters, and loved every minute of it. I raced with the team in 4 or 5 festivals this year, which was very exciting. Our oldest teammate is 80. I’ve also been playing soccer with my daughter Loryn on a Div. 3 team once a week, and it’s special time with her and my favourite game. I took my love for the Coquitlam Crunch, a hiking mountain in our city, to new heights by co-chairing the annual event, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge, and was featured in the city’s promo video. In fall of this year I joined Ultra Throw, a brand new local club of 20+ athletes training and competing in javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throwing. In 2017 I will start competing. I am excited (and scared) of this, as competing in sport ‘solo’ is brand new to me.
As for my love life, when a girlfriend from the Bahamas asked if I was dating, I said, “I’m open to it, but any group I join, or people I meet, the guys are either gay, already in relationship or married.” Another girlfriend suggested I join the dating group, “Events and Adventures,” to which I chuckled and replied, “My life is already an event and adventure! I don’t need to pay for it, and I don’t have the time in my schedule.” Another girlfriend suggested I try online dating. I tried that once – went on one date, and although it was fine (meah), I’ve resolved to waiting to see what life doles out. So yes, I am happy and single.
In 2017 I look forward to keeping my life afloat, and also have some long-range writing goals I hope to get started on if I can find the time!
Below is my interview with Tri-Cities Community TV featured on Shaw TV where I talked about #ParentingOurParents, my salmon work, The Bahamas Weekly, and dragon boating. Click the image to view or HERE.
Whether I’ve seen you this year, or not; whether we only communicate now and again, or via social media; thank you for being in my life. Have a wonderful holiday season!
I know it sounds easy, but why is it so hard for so many of us?
Our parents are aging. They don’t want to be a bother. You often hear seniors say, “Oh, my kids are very busy with their families, and I don’t want to bug them.” Sadly many people do not talk to their parents for months or even a year at a time.
What is even more bewildering to me is that some people say, “But if I call, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to tell them.”
Our parents are aging, and their minds and bodies are changing. As we become seniors, we become more childlike. Our parents need us. It’s payback time.
A child needs is food, touch, warmth and love. Our parents deserve the same. They gave it to us.
If we can step up for at least the love part, then a phone call is very important, especially if our parents are living alone, as a widow, or widower; and even if they live in a seniors home or care facility.
If you need that nudge, here’s my basics on how to make that call:
Aim to keep it short. Tell them at the start that you can’t talk long, but you called to see how they are doing. “Hi mom, I can’t talk long, but you’ve been on my mind, and I called to see how you are doing?”
After they answer (they may just say they are ‘ok’), ask them what they’ve been up to. They may not tell you much. Expect that, because for some, they may also not remember.
Have three questions in mind to ask. Write them down if you have to. They may flip it over to discuss you, as not to talk about themselves, but try and get those three questions in during your call.
Have three things to tell them about your life. Write them down if you have to. ie. 1. Your daughter Mary graduated from med school 2. You got a call from an old friend you hadn’t see since childhood 3. Your plans for an upcoming vacation.
Some parents may bring up old grievances. If that should happen and you hear the old record player starting up yet again, then ‘keep it short’ – as you intended. It’s okay to say, “Hey mom, sorry to cut you off, but I have to run now. I’ll call again soon.” (and yes you will!)
Always tell them you love them before you hang up, no matter how the conversation went. Some people never hear “I love you” enough, or are often afraid to say it to others, but your parent needs to hear it. So just say it, because it won’t hurt. The more you say it, the more natural and easy it becomes…”I love you mom.”
Make that call today!
(Check out the hashtag #ParentingOurParents on Facebook to get a peek into my life, living with and caring for my 80+ mother)