I have never been a fan of the circus.

I don’t like the crowds, the tent, the smell.  i feel like the animals are mistreated and it’s likely the performers are too.  Just too much going on under one tent.

And there are the clowns.  i have never liked clowns.

Through my lifelong disdain of the circus, I have managed to create one of my own.

Step right up…

There are my parents;  One is in room 28 at the nursing home.  The other is now at a rehab center for physical therapy.  He is in room 210.  Each of them have a terminal diagnosis.  Mom has advanced dementia.  Dad has mesothelioma.  And on top of managing their care, I manage their finances.  And this now includes applying for different programs for each of them.

There are my kids.  One is applying for different colleges.  One is missing his two front teeth and is obsessed with Star Wars.  One just learned to walk and manages to trip and hit her head on everything, which is a show-stopper every time.

There is my job.  A never-ending barrage of phone calls, emails, consults and travel.

There are my friends.  Thank GOD for my friends.  They keep me sane.  Hopefully I return the favor for them.

There is the ex-husband.  The one who lost his family because of his gambling addiction and alcoholism.  Then lost his job.  Then lost his house.  The one who always has money for beer, cigarettes and lottery, but fails to have enough to feed his son when he visits for the evening.  The one who was homeless until my father…yes my father…allowed him to rent a room from him.

And there’s my new fella.  The One.  Enough said.

There’s me.  I am pretty low-maintenance, but I manage a household and the bills, and the car and the meals and the grocery shopping.  Along with homework, baths and bedtimes.

So how many rings is that?  Parents, kids, job, ex-husbands, friends, new love, me,  etc? It’s more entertainment than could fit under one big top.

It’s a circus.  I should charge admission to my life!

Step right up…The show is beginning.

My mother has called me 14 times since 2:00 pm.  She is in a state of panic over my father’s whereabouts.  I have explained, since last Saturday, that he is going to a rehab center to work on his balance and walking.  Each phone call is the same:

“Where is your father?” (No “hello”.  No “it’s mom”  No niceties)

“Mom, he is at the center to get therapy, remember?”

“What happened to him?”  (I have explained this several times.  And each time she asks, i explain again)

“He fell a few times at home.  The doctors think he should get some physical therapy to make him stronger.”

“Okay.  But he’s alright?”

“Yes, he’s fine.”

Twenty minutes later, as I am in the middle of changing a foul diaper, the phone rings…

“Where is your father?”

And it starts again.  And again.  And again.

I am not complaining…I understand that this is part of the disease process.  But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Phone rings again.

It’s my father.  He needs his special razor from home.  I think to myself, it’s almost 10:00.  Really?

So I appease him and put him off until the morning, promising a visit before I head to work.

By the time I do manage to head to work, I have already dressed and readied an unmotivated in the morning six year old, a headstrong baby and myself.  By 8:00 I have typically answered countless emails and phone calls.  By 8:30 kids are at school and daycare and I am usually sweaty and frazzled.

If i were in the circus, i would be the lonesome loser spinning the plates….hearing them crash when I don’t give them the attention they need to maintain the spin.

And believe me, I break a lot of plates.  It’s hard to keep them spinning.

But the show must go on.  So tomorrow, I will get up and start it all over.  Hopefully without clowns or tightropes.

Maybe tomorrow, I will only break a couple of plates.