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They're Your Parents Too! by Francine Russo

3/19/10

They're Your Parents Too! by Francine Russo

Meryl Moss Media Relations mailed me a copy of They're Your Parents, Too! by Francine Russo to get my thoughts from a Sociological perspective. I was blown away by this book and the gathering of research that went into telling the stories of these siblings relating to each other as they deal with their aging parents. Many of us might have had those uncomfortable conversations with our parents regarding their "last wishes." In my family, my mother and I have had these conversations. She has tried to prepare me as much as possible in the event of her death and what do to with her belongings and property, etc.

We discuss these types of topics because my mother has her own mother living with her since my grandfather passed away nearly thirteen years ago. As my mother faces the aging process of her own mother, I stay in denial. My grandmother functions well, she works out but my mother sees things that I don't because they live together. In our family we all fight over spending time with her of course it's all in a joking manner. She really is that awesome. My mother has a younger brother and they do communicate well in regards to their mother. After reading some of the sibling battles in this book I'm very happy that there have not been any rifts in their relationship.

What I wasn't prepared for or had even thought of until I read this book is what about my mothers wishes while living? I also wonder if my mother has thought about that as my grandmother continues to age. People don't want to face the possibility of not being able to make their own decisions.

In my case I question if it is possible that I would have issues with my two older brothers regarding the care of my mother? I wondered if we had any old rivalries that would flare up as we all age. Is there anything that hasn't been resolved? Are there any open wounds or events from the past that we might harbor? I would find myself reading a few pages and putting it down and thinking long and hard about these questions. This is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to write this post. It never occurred to me to think about favoritism, is it possible that my mother would like one of us more than the other? Each of us had our own experience with our mother and we all know and relate to her in different ways. Then I began to shift and think of how I treat my own children! 

Am I doing anything as a parent that would cause my children to be jealous of each other? Is it possible that I could be blindly showing favoritism? My husband and I have already begun threatening our kids with our presence as we age. We have decided to sell everything and get a small loft downtown and then stay with each of our children for a few months at a time. The response in case your curious, (this from our oldest son) "I'm not going to let you in!" That might be a problem. From our younger son, "You can come visit me mommy, I will let you in!" Insert warm and fuzzy feelings ---->here<----. Maybe it's comments such as those that begin to foster favoritism.


The topics in this book have also led my husband and I to have discussions about what we would like to have happen to us as we age. I won't blog my husbands response completely, let's just say it starts with heading out to the woods. On that note, think for a moment how assisted living will work in the year 2045. Can you imagine? We will need laptops in all of our rooms with internet access, satellites and don't forget our cell phones and blackberrys, oh and there has to be a gym!


Thank you Francine Russo for tackling this topic of siblings and aging parents. It is a must read for all families, simply because of all the questions that need to be answered while they still can. As a society we are going to be dealing with the aging process more and more as health care, health insurance and social security remain questionable. How will you take care of your parents? How healthy is your relationship with your siblings? It's food for thought. 

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