This is a bit different than my traditional "Personal Wednesday" post, where I talk about things like emotional frameworks or my own vulnerabilities.
Today, I just want to note something that has been a consistent Shower Thought of mine this week—I'm excited to hang out one-on-one with my dad on Friday :). Why is this "hang sesh" especially exciting? Primarily because I don't get to do it often, but it feels meaningful to me and important to the family.
- I now live in Boston, and my parents live in Denver.
- My mom has early-onset Alzheimer's (she's 66 and has had it for 5+ years), and my dad is her full-time care partner. So when I hang with my dad, I also hang with my mom (by the nature of full-time care partnering).
- For a variety of reasons, we've started to pay someone to hang with my mom 1-2 times/week for a couple hours so my dad can get some "time off".
- And my dad will have some "time off" this Friday when I'm in Denver! It'll be the 1st time in ~12 months since I've had a chunk of time to spend alone with my dad.
I don't see this (wanting to hang 1:1 with my dad) as a negative statement towards my mom (I love her very much and will write about her soon too!). Instead, I think it's helpful to understand this as similar to when parents get time away from their kids. Except in this situation, I (once the kid) am now one of the parents, and my mom is now the kid. (Interacting with folks with Alzheimer's is pretty similar to hanging with kids—you need to exist in their world on their terms.) Usually when I see my dad, we're both operating with two parallel brains (one is in the "adult" conversation and the other is "constantly checking" what mom with Alzheimer's is up to). In contrast, on Friday we can hang out "in flow" without distraction.
I'm especially grateful that my parents have the financial capacity to pay someone to hang out with my mom, and that I have a flexible job which allows for setting aside important moments like this. ❤️
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