It’s been a bit over 9 months now since my dad moved into a memory care facility. We found a very nice place; one which he agreed would be fine, that was conveniently close to my mom.
It is also fairly close to where I live. Of their three sons, I am by far the closest to our parents. This was true even before we moved from Waco to Euless in June of 2012. In fact, my primary motivation for seeking an appointment in the Metroplex was to be closer to our parents as they aged.
The idea was that I would be able to see them more often, and be more available to help.
I believe I have succeeded in the latter cause; until last week, though, I have felt a failure in the former.
It turns out that living within 20 minutes of ones parents does not mean one will necessarily see them more or spend time with them. Between being a newly appointed pastor at a growing church, having to pre-school aged children, and being a man intent on maintaining a healthy marriage, time to go and spend with parents, even one now in a nursing home, doesn’t just happen.
Two weeks ago, then I decided I would no longer just wait for time with dad to happen. I choose to make it happen. Two consecutive Mondays now I have driven to spend some time with dad. One of these I stopped and picked up mom as well. Today, I went alone.
I share this not out of a need for affirmation or applause, but to invite you to consider what kinds of things you might have been waiting to happen, wanting to “let happen” in relationships. Surely sometimes things happen without our initiative. But I wonder how many relationships have ended out of waiting to let something happen.
I wish I could share with you some profound benefit I’ve already received from this commitment to see my dad weekly (regularly, actually; I know better than to think this will work every Monday). I have no such stories, and, frankly, don’t expect them. Parkinson’s related dementia leads me, rather, to think that this commitment was important for reasons other than what I might get out of it.
Or, maybe, what I expect to get out of this commitment is confirmation that simply waiting for something to happen is not always the better choice.