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bythebay's avatar

Are you in "The Middle Place"?

Asked by bythebay (8014 points ) March 6th, 2009

I just read the book “The Middle Place” – by Kelly Corrigan. The author finds herself in that place where “parenthood and childhood overlap”. She is a married adult with children, who is also worrying and caring for aging parents. She is battling cancer as is her father.

Have you found yourself in that middle place, are you there now? How do you prioritize between yourself, your children, and your parents? Do you embrace this stage in life or despise it? If you have children, do you expect them one day to care for you?

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9 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Yup. We’re there. My wife’s family just sold her mother’s house to finance her nursing home care. Now we have to split up the furniture. What a mess! Meanwhile, our son has learning disabilities.

Prioritize? What priorities? Everything is a priority!

I do see this as an opportunity to model for our children a good way to care for parents. They will be more likely to take care of us when the time comes. God help us. I’d rather die than end up in a nursing home, but you know what? That’s what everyone says.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t know if this counts but, I do feel very torn lately.
I have a young toddler, I’m in school trying to finish up my degree and my mother is about to have an extremely serious surgery and I’ll be the one home to care for her during her recovery. The thought of losing my mother has been stressing me out ever since the surgery has been scheduled.
I will always take care of my child first, and my mother knows this. But, I don’t see how it’d be a problem to care for both of them, for me. I believe nowadays children forget all the things their parents did for them.
My neighbor downstairs is dying and I hear her grown children fighting constantly about who is going to take care of her. It’s such a shame.

cwilbur's avatar

My father insists that he will be financially responsible for himself to the very end, and he has made arrangements for nursing-home care when he can no longer take care of himself. He’s always been fiercely independent and self-sufficient, so this isn’t really a surprise.

(And if he ages like everyone else in the family has, he’s going to be hale and hearty and living on his own until one day he dies peacefully in his sleep.)

marinelife's avatar

I am now dealing with the issues of caring for my elderly mother. It made the last half of 2008 incredibly stressful for my whole family.

It also made me think long and hard about my own end-of-life-situation since we don’t have children. We need to make very detailed and precise directives and plans.

We will also be the only support for my husband’s mother when her health fails. It is daunting.

It is not how I imagined it. My mother has not acted as I thought she would.

Blondesjon's avatar

I have so far been blessed with a healthy family, both a generation ahead and behind. I firmly believe that one owes their parents just as many years care at the end of their lives as they gave you at the beginning of yours. If you lived with your parents until you were eighteen than you owe them eighteen years when they need it. My own children think this is one of my jokes. My wife’s parents and my mother know that it is not.

cdwccrn's avatar

Been there. Now, all my parents/ in-laws/ grandparents are dead.
It was difficult. I had to be intentional about establishing healthy boundaries.

Johnny_B_Goode's avatar

All we can do is ” keep on keepin on ”. Life’s a bitch and then we die.

adreamofautumn's avatar

I am not, i’m too young to be in that place, but I get the feeling I never will be. My parents are incredibly young for the age I am, by the time they are aging and need to be cared for my kids (if I have them) will probably be fairly old.

VS's avatar

I suppose that’s exactly where I am – the middle place. Although both of my parents are dead and both of my husband’s parents are dead, I did have responsibility as the only child when my mom contracted colon cancer and had to have home care, and we do have a 35 year-old learning disabled son who still lives at home. He is not profoundly handicapped, but he cannot live independently.

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