There’s nothing like taking a well-deserved vacation during the holiday season.  Relaxing. Enjoying time with loved ones.  Reflecting on past memories.  Soaking it all in….

I am actually on a trip as I write this….

But it’s no vacation.

I am on the dreaded holiday guilt trip. There are simply not enough hours in the day to make everyone happy.  And just like nurses do when they care for patients in the emergency room, I find that I triage the need.

Who needs my attention the most today?  Is it the kids?  Is it my father who lives at home alone?  Is it my mother…who I haven’t visited in the past two weeks?  Is it my guy?  The one who blessed me with an amazing trip out of town last week.  Is it the headache and sore throat I’ve ignored since Tuesday?  Is it the right passenger side tire that’s low on air?  Is it the sink full of dishes or perhaps its cousin, the overflowing hamper of dirty laundry?

How do you prioritize from inside the sandwich? It’s hard to see what needs to be done when you are in the middle, under it all.

A few posts back I committed to focusing more on my kids.  And that has not changed…but it’s difficult to do when so many other things need your time.  And the one thing I have let go, is my mother.

I feel terrible.  I have not visited with her since the first week of December and here we are in the third week.  I can only imagine how she must feel in that dark, cold room. Alone (her roommate went home a few weeks ago).  Nothing to do but wait for a visitor.  Wait for lunch.  Wait for dinner.

Wait for her time to go…

And I know you’re wondering…if you have time to write this, you should have time to visit her.  Truth is, I usually write in the wee hours of the night.  When I can’t sleep, I write to try and make sense out of all of this chaos.

And let me be totally honest, the real truth is…I feel so guilty that she’s there.  That she’s miserable.  That she’s alone.  It is almost unbearable to visit her and see it with my own eyes. She’s in a great facility.  They take good care of her.  It’s just different when it’s your own parent.  I work in this business, if anyone should be able to handle this…I should be able to.  But I am really struggling.

And my father is now back in the hospital.  He is rapidly declining.  I know in my heart that this is likely the last holiday I will spend with either of my parents…and yet I sit here…paralyzed by the thought of losing them.  I am just not ready.  What will the holidays look like without them?  What will I do when I don’t have to take care of them any longer?  I am terrified by the thought of it all.  Too much to process.

Where are my kids in all of this?  My little ones don’t really know their grandparents.  They know the shell of the people they once were.  My six year old knows more about walkers and wheelchairs than anyone in his first grade class. He is usually the first on the scene with the walker to make sure everyone is safe.  Wonder if he will grow up to be a physical therapist?  That may be a good thing…may need him to care for me one day…But i do feel sorry that they don’t know them as my oldest does.

I know…I am chasing my tail with all of this.  But it does feel good to write about it.  Makes more sense this way.  But I need to wrap it up…there are still “miles to go before I sleep.”

I’ll close with this…over the last few weeks, I have been reminded several times…by my friends and family…to breathe.  Just breathe.  And maybe that’s the answer to all of this.  Breathing. Taking it all in and letting it all out.  With that said, hopefully I can find my way out of “Guiltsville” and back to home…back to a place of peace.

If I can just make someone happy…just one someone happy.  That is the goal for the holidays.  And that is certainly within reach!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!