Step-parenting is No Fourth of July Picnic

Dear Readers,

I have been on the road again this week helping my father. He is 95 years old, and he broke his upper leg very badly in March. He went from the hospital to a terrible nursing home to a somewhat better one.

On Tuesday, we saw the orthopedic surgeon again. After three months, the leg still isn’t healing much, but the doctor believes the hardware he installed around the bones will hold him up. He says Dad can start walking with a walker AND he says Dad can go home. This young ortho expert doesn’t know what he’s saying. Dad lives alone. His will is strong, but his body is fragile. My brother and I both live far away. This situation is wearing us out. We’ll both be doing some commuting while we figure out how to get things organized. Moving Dad from his three-bedroom house in suburbia to some kind of senior residence would be much easier on us, but it’s Dad’s life, and he has the right to live it the way he wants to. He wants to go home.

I arrived in the middle of a heat wave. Driving Dad’s car through the horrible traffic in San Jose, sweating, tired and hungry, I told myself taking care of Dad–and my dog Annie, who just had knee surgery three weeks ago–is my job now. Perhaps I was denied motherhood so I could devote myself to caregiving for my husband and our parents. It’s not really what I want to do, but it’s the job God has given me. I would so much rather focus on my writing and music and maybe take an actual vacation. Someday.

Meanwhile, it’s that time of year when we’re forced to look at pictures of everybody’s kids in graduation gowns or on vacation. Babies seem to be everywhere. Right? And, those of us who have stepchildren may suddenly find them arriving for extended visits, disrupting our usually childless lives.

A 2012 post, “Stepchildren Add Stress to Childless Marriages,” has drawn a barrage of comments this week. You might want to read them and join the conversation. Step-parenting is tough, and folks who think they’re a perfect substitute for having your own kids are wrong. It’s the not the same.

What do you think? What’s bugging you these days? Thanks for being here.

Sue

 

 

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Childless readers, I need some inspiration


Dear readers,
I know I’m late with this week’s post, but I’m coming up empty. Usually by the time I set fingers to keys on Wednesday morning, something has begun to form in my mind, but right now, Thursday evening, I’ve got nothing. I can tell you a few things:
1) It’s spring break here on the central Oregon coast, and the place is swarming with tourists, half of whom seem to be either babies, young children, or pregnant women. I mean, everywhere I look. It’s bumming me out. Most of the time, I don’t see that many kids or pregnant people because the population is so heavily slanted toward the over-60 crowd, but wow, they’re all over my world this week. Kids, parents, grandma and grandpas in my face every time I leave the house.
2) I seem to be doing a lot of caregiving lately. No, my dad is fine, but a good friend had heart surgery last week, so I’m back to sitting beside a hospital bed. Also, my elderly neighbor needed someone to sit with her husband, who is suffering some serious mental and physical problems after his heart surgery turned out badly, so I hung out at their house. And now, my dear dog has Kennel Cough/aka Bordatella. Every time she starts coughing, my heart stops. The drugs seem to be working, but all of my mom cells are engaged in taking care of her. And yes, she did get vaccinated.
3) The childless news is full of the usual stuff: somebody’s leaving their fortune to their pet monkey, the Pope says childless couples are selfish and sad, pollsters are predicting a lot more seniors living alone in the future because fewer people are having children. The childfree crowd is still claiming you don’t need children to be happy. And I keep getting comments from people who claim a spell caster has solved all their problems and now they’re happily married with children.
Help me out, you guys, send me some ideas. I might even accept a guest post or two. Let’s keep the conversation going.