Liz Marchi: Give Me Patience for Parents

By LIZ MARCHI

I am flying back to Bozeman after spending two weeks with my Mom and Dad and family in Alabama.  I am so conflicted about them these days.  They were very good parents and provided well for us and their grandchildren and even great grandchildren but they are making very few accommodations for the fact that they are 83 and 86.

I spent 5 days with three men in their yard taming shrubbery and vines and sticks and killing fire ants.  It looks great but I look like I was in combat.

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Home for Easter, trying to keep a good sense of humor and show Mom and Dad we ALL need glasses because we are all over50!

As time goes by, they want family there.  It upsets their routine but they need stuff done; shopping, cleaning, organizing, donating, cars washed, light bulbs changed, the list goes on.  The house is the same as it was 34 years ago.  It’s huge and Mom is exhausted from walking from one end to the other.  They haven’t been upstairs in years.

I’m 61 not 16.  My Mom tells me I drink too much wine, I don’t eat enough food, I work too hard, I don’t cook enough for Jon.  We are trying to downsize our ranch lives.  Mom is critical that my children, ages 25 to 32, won’t have a “home” to come to if we sell the ranch.  I think families should make their own homes.  A home is a gathering place not a static address.

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Traditions can becomehard.

I never imagined the day I feel I am enabling my own parents to behave badly.  I keep remembering the line from the book “Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters at the End”; our parents have earned the right to make bad decisions.

They have such high standards for themselves, I wish they could reconcile those with the fact that we are all different and want different things.  I know I am not 80 but I think about where I am in life every day.  I try to let go of things that don’t matter anymore and invest my energy in activities and with people that make me happy, teach me something or give me a sense of satisfaction.

Give me patience to understand their point of view and keep me focused on the ever changing landscapes of life.

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Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go intoovertime.