Before I move on to point #6 in my Top 10 List for Parents of Young Adults, I want to take a brief interlude to talk about an issue that parents of young adults often deal with: Caring for aging parents.
No wonder when we are in our 40's, 50's and 60's we are often referred to as "the sandwich generation."
This will come up again when I talk about the sort of general kindness parents should show toward their becoming-adult children, and that newly adult children should show toward their parents …
because very often,
just as parents are launching their own kids out of the nest,
their parents are experiencing the beginning of age-related health issues that often cause them to need the attention and care of their own aging kids.
This can be a beautiful time in a family's life, where those of us who have leaned hard on our own parents can, in effect, pay them back for all the ways they have supported us by supporting them in new ways.
This can also be an exhausting time for those of us who are working hard to support our young adult kids, working hard to find time and energy for our own lives and marriage, all while caring for aging parents more and more and more and more.
In the past couple weeks, I have been to the emergency room twice, spent about 6 days in the hospital with one of my parents, and have sat by my father-in-law's bedside singing hymns and reading the Psalms to him.
It has been a deep, deep honor to do these things.
This time has been filled with holy moments.
It has also been exhausting.
I have been my best self, and my very worst self.
I have cried. I have laughed. I have felt crazy. I have felt sane. I have felt numb.
I have wondered why I am so tired.
I have berated myself for not sticking to my workout routine. (Idiot)
I have had insomnia.
I have slept for 12 hours straight.
The only little piece of advice I have for my friends who are walking through this stage, or will, is to be kind to yourself, be kind to your parents, be kind to your kids, be kind to your spouse. Be especially kind to your dog.
Show up as often as you can.
And get some rest. Workouts will wait.
Agreed. 100%. It is such an honor and privilege to be able to turn around and help your parents when they need it. But so exhausting - sometimes physically and always mentally. But always I try to remember ... someday they won't be here for me to care for, so I try to cherish the times I have.
Thanks for this, Linda. We all walk this road.
I spent over 5 years flying back and forth from Iowa to NJ to take care of my Mother and I do not regret one moment. Selfishly I only regret God decided to take her home. You miss the care-taking and the times when you held your loved one in your arms and told them you loved them always.