Although my parents are deceased, I have not escaped the highs and lows that come with having an aging parent that lives at a distance. Yesterday we received a call that my mother-in-law needed immediate surgery for what appeared to be a perforation in her intestine. It ruptured. We were trying to get back to normal after Tropical Storm Fay, the kids had literally just started school, and in very little time, we had to make a decision to fly North and leave our children, our business and our lives, to care for a sick loved one. Of course, we never hesitated. We have a “plan”. We have a local support system in place. We thought we could just “implement it”. We quickly learned that even the best laid plans have flaws and those flaws are usually only discovered once the so called “plan” is put into action!
We didn’t make it 4 hours into our trip before we were trying to deal with various kid crises from 1200 miles away. Today was no better and we have quickly begun to realize, and more importantly accept, that our plan will be a continual work in progress. It requires constant updating, incredible cooperation from those that support us in times of crisis, the ability to somehow summon patience, a number of times, a lot of trust, and the willingness to accept the fact that there are just certain things that are outside of our control.
Our plan works – for the most part. But we learned some tough lessons this time around and we know what we have to do to make our plan better. And despite how busy we are with kids and work and life, we WILL work on it, because when you have an aging parent, you can pretty much guarantee that there IS going to be a next time and your “best laid plan” will be tested once again.