Today I drove my mother to the city (I live in a town of less than 10,000 people) to have something called a Port-A-Cath installed. It’s a semi-permanent port for drawing blood and injecting chemotherapy. Because my mom’s going to be undergoing treatments for at least 12 more months, which means every 3 weeks they poke around her veins to find one that’ll accept an IV (and sometimes it takes up to 4 attempts, leaving the failed attempts bruised and tender) and just as often having to have bloodwork done, she wisely opted for this procedure.
Have I mentioned my mom has breast cancer that metastasized to her liver and lower spine?
Though it’s a reality in our culture that kids someday grow up to “take care” of their parents, you never think that day will come before you’re middle-aged with a passel o’ tots of your own, and a home, and a minivan, and at least one life insurance policy. At 25 and single, without so much as a car to my name, it’s definitely not something I foresaw for this season, and, no offense, Mom, it’s not something I enjoy.
The worst part is, if I were to be brutally honest, I’m not needed as much as I thought I might have been. She’s doing heaps better than anyone could have predicted, and she only “needs” me the odd time, to drive her to an appointment, or make dinner or clean up the kitchen or do laundry. I’m not organizing visits to a sick bed, planning menus for someone who has no appetite, creating and maintaining a relaxing environment, taking charge of the care of my younger siblings, etc.
At the same time, I dread the thought of someday having more responsibility. I never asked to be the oldest of a single mother of six, and I don’t want to accept the “natural” role that goes with that birth rank. I’ve unnaturally stepped into responsibility beyond my years so many times in my life, and, though it became normal for a while, now I want to run the other way. I wish my dang siblings (all of whom I love, of course) would just step up and take the responsibility!!
Perhaps it takes me stepping out of the way so they’ve got their backs against the wall and they have to do something about it. If I’m there in the middle, why should anyone else do anything? Sarah will just take care of it all! Sure, she’ll gripe and growl, but it’ll get done!
I do have to admit that this whole feeling is magnified by the fact that I’ve come back from almost 6 years of living on my own in different countries to live in a tiny, sound-magnifying house with my mom and two of my brothers. This house is not big enough for the all of us! So what if there are four bedrooms? I can hear my mother snoring upstairs and the dryer running downstairs. I can hear everything that is said and done on the first floor and everything in the bathroom echoes painfully into my room.
Yet, it all seems to point to this being the right place for me for now. I’ve prayed about another place to live, but nothing has opened up. What I thought would be a few months turned into seven and counting. I got involved at my church. I got a job. I started a Bible study with some friends.
Just remember, family and friends… IT’S NOT PERMANENT! Sorry if that’s become a hurtful statement… I really love you all, but small-town Ontario is not my heart’s home, and I must move on when the time is right, whether my siblings step up to the plate or not!