Monday, March 21, 2011

Perspective

Most people who know me know that I went home to take care of my mom in what turned out to be the last six months of her life. I didn't know that at the time, of course. I always thought it was a bridging measure, and we talked about her moving out here with me when she was better. Anyway.


I quit my job and moved home to do it, but two of my sisters, already living there, helped a lot. At the time, I saw it as a continuing pattern of my family; the girls always did all the housework, and the boys didn't. We girls worked our ways through school with side jobs, but the boys didn't. A lot more was expected of us. And it's not an uncommon situation. I read while I was home that 80 percent of the people who take care of a family member who is sick are women.

So I was full of 23 years of rage and fresh grief when my brother said, "You know, if I could have one more day with her, I'd quit my job and move home." This infuriated me. In my mind, I always respond, "You could have. You just didn't."

But just today, just about 20 minutes ago, I finally understood. I was single, no attachments, barely even a tax return when I moved home. The brother who said that had a wife and two kids at that time. He had other responsibilities.

I can't stand it when people say that everything changes when you have a kid. It couldn't be more obvious, and I hate that kind of banality. But I also can't escape it. What I realized tonight is that what had changed for him was the definition of family. And eight months ago it changed for me.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sorry I've disappeared

Abbott is sick. So although I just started a new job and we're closing on a house in a week, it's the only thing on my mind. Is there anything else?