My husband and I recently moved back to the area where I grew up, the place where my parents and some of my siblings still live. I have not lived near family in ten years (I’m almost 26, left home for college early). I have good memories of childhood, am close to most of my siblings and over the years have had a good phone relationship with my parents–seeing them a couple times a year, sometimes more, but talking to them many times a week.
The plan was to move here for a few reasons. One, we wanted to raise our family near loving aunts, uncles, etc (siblings and my parents). Two, we didn’t want the east coast/big city pace for our future family. Three, I missed my family. Four, various other misc reasons such as cost of living, midwestern values, church on every streetcorner, etc.
I’ve generally had a good relationship with my parents.
There have been times in my life where we’ve butted heads, over nearly every major decision I’ve made with my education or career–but in the end, since I was financially responsible for myself and sure in what I wanted for my life…I took their opinion, weighed it carefully and acted according to what I thought was in my best interest. They often had a hard time accepting decisions that didn’t follow with their opinion (such as me moving across the country, the career path I chose, following certain aspects of my faith, etc). However, amongst the disagreements were always good times that were had.
Anyway, we were very excited to learn of the pregnancy as soon as we arrived here, after moving. We felt like it was such perfect timing and a blessing from God that He would gift us with a baby just as we made such a major life-changing decision that happened to be centered around raising a family.
Things, however, have definitely been strange since I’ve returned. I think some of it has to do with the lack of in-person time I’ve spent with my parents over the last decade. Talking to them several times a week is not the same as seeing them very often and interacting that way. Some of what I noticed on the phone, such as my mother’s recent…combative behavior, for lack of a better phrase, I dismissed. Until I began seeing it.
My dad insisted she go to the doctor a few months ago because he felt like he was noticing some major behavioral changes in her. He told me privately he thought it might be the onset of early Alzheimers. (She is in her late fifties, so this would be unusual.) Her doctor agreed that she did have some indicators and wanted to meet with her further and explore other possibilities. My mother was highly insulted by even the suggestion that something could be wrong with her of this nature. (Her grandmother and grandmother’s siblings had Alzheimers’. Her parents each died early from cancer, so either of them developing it never came to be an issue.) She stopped going to that doctor at all. She did go see her OB and asked if some of her symptoms are just a very difficult menopause, which her OB agreed with–but my mother did not hand her all of the information about what’s been going on.
Anyway, my dad stopped forcing the issue because it caused so much trouble between them and now they act like there is nothing wrong with her. She does have short-term memory issues; you can tell her one thing and five minutes later she brings up the same conversational topic and acts angry when you tell her we just spoke about it. She’s extremely moody and defensive and extraordinarily insensitive about some of what comes out of her mouth. She did not used to be like this and this isn’t the mother I remember from my childhood at all.