I live with my Mom in a comfortable 2 bedroom, one bath house. Sharing a bathroom is a bit tricky logistically, but we make it work. I do my best to make sure she is comfortable and doesn't have to worry about all the daily stuff like cooking, cleaning, taking out the garbage. She says that I'm the best "man of the house" even though I'm her only daughter.
I make sure her med-alert is charged, as well as her iPad and iPhone. We call her "iGrandma" because she's hip that way. She even has her own Etsy store where she sells her hand-painted porcelain. At 85, she's inspiring and amazing. She recounts stories of her youth and surviving World War II and stories of her marriages. Now as an adult, I appreciate them much more and I don't care if I've heard them before. I'm grateful that she can remember everything so vividly.
There's no burden with taking care of an elderly parent, at least not in my eyes. Some people complain about their horrible parents and granted, some of those parents were pretty horrible. But if your disagreements are over politics or agendas, try and deal with it so you can share some quality time before you don't have that opportunity anymore. The opportunity to hear the voice or smell the perfume or aftershave. I know it sounds simplistic and I'm not naive to the fact that there are some truly despicable parents out there who have done truly despicable things to their kids. Those parents, I would erase.
The parents that are crunchy around the edges could maybe use a little tenderness. It might surprise you if you give it a chance. Thankfully, my Mom was always soft around the edges and we've only gotten closer as we've lived together. The other day, her cell phone rang. Her ring tone is Zorba The Greek music - classic when it goes off at a Greek restaurant. And we're not Greek. Mom couldn't hear her phone, so I went and grabbed it. The phone wasn't ringing, but it was a text from a friend. Same ring tone for both. And being the nosey daughter that I am, I read the text. Her friend was commenting on my Mom's text to her. About how she (Mom) sat outside the night before, as the sun was setting. She was enjoying the backyard and the reflections off the pool. My Mom had commented about how much she enjoyed looking off into the distance, over our fence at all the different trees and the different variations of green. All the foliage out there and how happy it made her to be able to see all this beauty.
And as I read this, I realized that it was just a small thing like the color green that brought her happiness. It was just a small thing of being able to sit outside and enjoy her backyard. And while she and I are living together, I know that I'll always enjoy the little things with her. And that all of these little things will fill my memories forever.