I grew up with a chatty, vibrant, super independent mom. She worked as an interpreter for the CIA and was constantly on the go. I wouldn’t hear from her for a couple weeks and it would turn out she had been in Antarctica or Syria.
I’m very independent too and have a really busy job as a stylist, with two teenagers who need me less and less. This is good because I am constantly missing their school events due to a last minute fitting or my wedding anniversary because of a photo shoot. So our family m.o. is that we all love each other but we are all off doing our own thing.
A few years ago, my mother developed dementia. She’s so fiercely independent that she managed to function for a couple of years but my two brothers and I realized fairly quickly that she needed way more help than she thought she did. It’s a long story but she is now in assisted-living. And my very social mom who thrived on human interaction is no longer able to engage with anyone… except her three kids.
So the reset has been, right as I’m preparing for empty-nest syndrome, to get a new dependent. I’m not taking new clients because I need to give my mother any free time I have. She is moving to an assisted-living home five minutes from my house. It’s not just about making sure she eats and bathes — it’s figuring out how to give her some happy moments in days clouded with the fog of dementia.