I want to design and market a “Guilt-be-Gone” garbage can for middle-aged women who want to be liberated from the endless criticism of their personal decisions about childcare and assisted living facilities. My new waste receptacle will have “GUILT” painted all over it, and I’ll sing with the passionate fervor of a gospel choir as I wheel that ugly, overloaded can of rubbish to the curb every week. Take it away, trusty trash man!
I’ve reached that wonderful time of life, just before tumbling into eccentricity then onto senility, when I don’t give a hoot anymore about any negative opinions and judgments about my difficult choices. And, it’s usually the working mother or dutiful daughter who is responsible for these important family issues. I rarely see any men pushing wheelchairs during visiting hours at the old folk’s home.
A generation ago, I was in the minority as a full-time working mother searching for adequate child care options while being criticized for leaving my children. I stayed home with two babies for five years and then returned to full-time work because I loved my jobs and because my children preferred to eat food, wear clothes, and live in a house with running water. Back then, the choices were limited but I did my best. I looked for a place that offered a wonderful, caring staff, healthy snacks, time for naps, and at a fair cost. Now I can proudly say that my kids are successful adults, we’re all close, and they haven’t given me a copy of the movie, Throw Mama from the Train.
Recently it’s been déjà vu as I visited various assisted living facilities for my widowed mother. I know some acquaintances are clucking their tongues and muttering that she should move in with me, but she has serious health issues and mobility limitations. She lived with me a few years ago, and it was not a good experience for either of us. So, I searched for a facility that offered a wonderful caring staff, healthy snacks, time for naps, and at a fair cost. Yes, I’ve been this route before.
According to the National Center for Assisted Living, more than 900,000 people nationwide are residing in assisted living settings. So, I figure there are at least that many middle-aged women who helped put them there, so I’m not alone. If you’re looking for such a facility, find one that respects the dignity of the residents. I’ve met some incredible staff members who would qualify for Sainthood based upon how they treat their weak, confused, and incontinent patients. And they make less salary than garbage collectors.
Today’s diatribe contains a bit of irony. This week I went to the store to purchase diapers for a grandchild and adult diapers for my mother. To complete the shopping trip, I detoured to the wine section. Later I raised a glass to toast my mother in her latest and last care facility. There was no guilt involved.
Today’s blog was fueled by a 2010 Decoy red table wine – bottled by the fabulous folks at the Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley. I lost a year of my life and a portion of my liver at their tasting room one fine afternoon. The Decoy goes for $25 a bottle and is an adequate substitute when you can’t justify $70 to $95 for their delightful Cabernet blends.