The Middle

"Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right. . .
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. . ." - Stealers Wheel

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a tale of two families.

I have heard friends talk about being "in the middle," feeling responsible not only for the family they created, but for the one that created them. Being a mom and a kid all at the same time is not always a comfortable feeling, no matter what age you are!

It hit me in a moment on the back porch of my parents' home in Houston. My mom had just taken my step-dad to the hospital after he collapsed on the kitchen floor. I was left without a plan. Will I stay? Will I go home? What should I do? Where does my responsibility lie? Why can't I fix this????

I'd left Hey Nineteen and Fifteen for a Moment at home this time as they had work and schedules, the husband and I took 13 & 5 with us. He could leave me there, he said, if I needed to stay. In my best Scarlett O'Hara, I told my wonderful husband that I'd think about it tomorrow. We got to work taking down the tree - the original intent of our visit. (There's nothing better for grief than hard physical labor. . .now I am not only sad, but I also cannot move!!!)

Needless to say, I eventually made it home again. But not without a good bit of guilt - for leaving the burden on the shoulders of my mother and my sister, while I go on about my la-la-life. . .waiting for a phone call, an email, the roller-coaster of good news/bad news that continues to wax and wane. (Wane drops keep falling on my head????)

"Hey Mom!" My five year-old piped up from the back seat somewhere around Hammond, La., "Wouldn't it be cool if you had twenty-four arms? Then you could take me to school and cook and clean and wash clothes and hug Grandma and drive everybody around all at the same time!"

"So, what you're saying is that I could have twenty-four arms and STILL not have any time for myself?"


And it is true. . .there is always one more responsibility, one more thing that needs to be done. Today I just take it as it comes. A tale of two families. . .

And now, it's time to get on with the business at hand. Today begins the spring of hope. . .I simply don't have time for the winter of despair! Now, I just need my Dad to get well and get home so that we can move on to the next disaster!!!

Have fun!


Anonymous said...

Yes, the responsibilities never end. I, myself, left my uncle, grandmother, and brother to tend to my mother, who eventually died of cancer. It was a horrible feeling, as I have always been the (appointed) matriarch of the family. But, I mustn't (and neither should you) feel guilty. Would the job get done any better? Will/would the outcome be any different? We all do the very best that we can do, and that is all we can do.

Do from afar what you can do, but make sure to take care of you and your family. Good luck!

Lara said...

Thanks - It's easy to do the right thing when it's cut-and-dried, but harder when it gets all muddy!

You must be an oldest child, or at least an oldest daughter. I often look to my daughter as my mom looks to me. . .that whole "strong woman" mentality - but we know who to turn to for props, the girls we raised to be strong, too!

"Would the job get done any better? Will/would the outcome be any different? We all do the very best that we can do, and that is all we can do." - that sounds so much like something my mom would say to me. Thank you, again!!