If you are a child of divorced parents, you may have had the experience of having to accept a new step parent into your world. It is either one of the easiest things to do or one of the hardest. I was older when my parents were divorced so I didn’t have this fantasy that my parents would get back together. I moved on from that thought and have never looked back. It wasn’t meant to be for them and I accepted that when I was 16. Add new siblings to the picture and you really don’t know what you will get.
When my dad told me that he was going to marry Phyllis, he asked if I was ok with it. I replied with a yes, and never thought a negative thing about a new step mom. I mean, most of you know Phyllis, and there isn’t really anything negative about her. She was kind, a ray of sunshine, and was crazy enough to love my crazy, stubborn, father. I still think to this day that I lucked out on the step mom category because it is a gamble, and if your parent is in love with them, you are going to have to deal with this new part of your family and the mixed family. This goes for John and Bryan too. I love them like my brothers and I am sure I can irritate them like a sister because I have my moments where I can be a pain in the ass. However, in all fairness, there are times where they drive me nuts too.
Ever since my only brother passed when I was 15, it was hard for me to think that I would have that connection with another person, that sibling connection. But as time went on, not only did I get two step brothers, I also got a brother in law when I got married. It is the closest thing I have to siblings by marriage. I also have cousins that I am very close to as well. While the blood relationship to them isn’t there, the bond, the feelings and family relationship is. I worry about them all, I yell at them when I think they are being stupid, or cry with them when we have the good and bad times.
A mother’s concern, blood or not
This past week when I posted the blog, I was pretty down. In all the chaos of feelings, everyday life and work, you get tired of it all. But I wrote about it, got it off my chest and moved on. As I said, in my very first post, this is my therapy. The thing that made me get angry and laugh at the same time this week was when I got a call from my dad.
“Phyllis says you need to get some therapy to help you with your stress”
First, after I get over my shock, I let my dad know that I am good. I have many avenues to talk about my feelings and I do. Second, I was mad because she was worrying about my well-being. I went to message her right after I hung up with dad.
After that exchange, I was telling my John what happened, and I started to laugh. Here is a woman who is battling a horrible disease. Has every reason to take the selfish, self-pity route because everything that is happening to her truly does suck. But she is sitting here, making sure I am ok and that I am taking care of myself, because MY HEALTH and well being is causing her to worry more than what is going on with her.
Blood doesn’t matter, she looks at me as her daughter and will worry like any mother.
Update on Phyllis for January 22nd:
FINALLY, hospice starts their schedule this week. It may seem like I have been mentioning hospice for a few times in the last few posts and it is because getting them to actually come to the house has been a huge task. Because of ALS, there are certain treatments that ALS patients get for ‘comfort care’ that in the eyes of hospice are categorized as “aggressive measures for treatment of the disease”. What does that mean? It means that they will not start hospice until all those measures are no longer being taken. However, with ALS, we had to explain to them that:
- The feeding tube is so she can eat
- The Trilogy ventilator machine is so she can sleep well at night or aid in breathing on rough days.
Both those items, along with the ALS medicine were the reason why she couldn’t get care. We finally worked with the hospice team to make them understand why this wasn’t aggressive measures for treatment and that it is truly comfort care.
In the upcoming week we are going to get a Hoyer lift. This is going to be a great help with getting Phyllis around and providing some relief for my dad in having to lift her up. If you don’t know what it is check out the link. Also for those that may be going over there in the next few weeks. We will be moving her bed into the living room so that she is comfortable and also not just sitting in the bedroom all day. She sits in her chair now and doesn’t use the bed cause it was too hard to get out of.
Finally we are slowly getting her meds figured out. The prescription for her nerves is pretty strong and quite honestly makes her pretty groggy. So it has been a week of trial and error to try to get a pattern with it that keeps the tremors at bay and not be completely out of it. If I can get my dad to follow what I have been suggesting, we are hoping that it keeps the tremors at bay but allowing her to be alert enough to interact with family and visitors.
She had a lot of visitors last week; again that brings her spirits up so thank you to those that have stopped by.
Hunter and I stopped by on Friday to bring dad some dinner and hang out for a bit and we were able to get her laughing. When Hunter and I were on our way home, I asked her how she was. Sometimes the visits make her sad. This time she just said, “I am ok mom, it was a good visit and I really wanted to see grandma and grandpa, don’t worry about me”. I just said to her “It doesn’t matter if your 11 or 44 I am always going to worry about you”
It hit me on that ride home, that with all moms, biological, bonus, step, whatever you are, you will worry no matter where you are or how you are feeling about your kids.
Go ahead Phyllis and laugh because I know you are thinking “See, now you get it” 🙂