Dad and I celebrating his 90th birthday 2011
In the 25th year of their marriage, as if in celebration of a finally empty nest, my parents moved into a new home. Now, in the 70th year of a long love affair, they are newly separated by the vagaries of dementia in my mother and an ever growing physical weakness in my father. These days I live in their love nest caring for Dad while shuttling back and forth to visit my mother.
Friends have told me how fortunate I am to have my parents with me for so long. Mom is 88 and Dad is 91. Part of that 'greatest generation', they married young. She was barely 18 and he a 21 year old sergeant in the Army Air Corps soon headed for the Pacific. Before he was shipped out Mom joined him in places like Meridian, Mississippi and, Coffeeville, Kansas. Thus was I conceived. Born in the middle of 1945, technically I am not one of the Baby Boom Generation cohort of 1946 to 1964. Yet I have always felt part of the advance guard, one in the first lines of the cohort and sharing its sociological features.
When parents marry young, bear children quickly, live to ripe old age and then begin to need care, their children have already entered into the last stages of their own lives. In addition, these children have off spring of their own; children with whom they strive to remain connected. Not to be forgotten are grandchildren clamoring for loving attention.
Thus the shift in gears indicated here in January has brought the reality of many of my generation; extended family in both directions, calling for connection and perhaps, in the end, physical care and assistance in dismantling what remains of lives well lived.
New editorial policy here will include whatever strikes the fancy of this contemplative monastic nun temporarily on hiatus; of a very mature women (at least in age) with history as wife and mother, teacher and librarian, artist of sorts, and caregiver. All these, the reflections of a boomer in between.