I Hope Happiness IS Contagious

Feeling At Home

Jun 29, 2011 by

Friends and regular readers of my writing here and at Lipsticking know that I’m going through some major adjustments with my mother.  Fiercely independent. Unwilling to ask for help. Unwilling to accept help.

Well, that explains me…but it also explains why my mom ended up where she is…in an assisted living home here in Albuquerque, with multiple major ailments.

So sad. Too late. She simply can’t live alone anymore. (She’d HATE my telling you this.  She considers someone asking her where she went to high school a major invasion of privacy (!?)  More about that – generational differences and various conceptions of social interaction in another post.)

All that said, Mom is doing amazingly well, adjusting to living with seven other women, in a city she never liked, in a home she didn’t choose, with very few of her own things. (And, yes, there’s another post about the “thing thing” coming soon. I’ve personally resolved to clean out more cabinets, for starters…)

So, where AM I going with all of this?  Well, Mom and me talk every day.  Some days it goes well. Some days not so well.  However, on Saturday, as I was taking her back to her new house (from her first venture to my dearly loved casa for dinner), she asked, “Do you really feel at home here?” Hey! Glimmer of hope!  My answer was, “Yes, I love it here, wouldn’t live anywhere else.” …as I silently wished/hoped/prayed that happiness and that deep, heart-felt sense of home will be catching.

Living in New Mexico is home for me.  Whatever else happens, I’m happy that I’m here. The scenery. The culture. The history. The deep-down, in the bone marrow feel of it all. Last, but certainly not least – the dear, wonderful friends who make it so much easier for me to deal with this late life family responsibility.  (My friend (blood sister) Donna actually went to Oklahoma- through tornado fronts – to help me move the Momster back, including driving a mini-van for a very, very long day…She’s now the favorite daughter. J)

So, here’s hoping I can help my mom be happy, by my being happy.  Hey, if I so love it here, there must be SOMETHING to it, right?

My ephipany (after more than one martini and more than a few tears) is that I CANNOT make anyone else happy.  Well, duh! I know that, but believing it is another thing entirely, isn’t it?  And, how many millions of other women (and women are the overwhelming majority of elderly caregivers) are facing the guilt-ridden, heart-hurtin’ issue?  We wanta make it perfect. We NEED to make the parents smile.  Well, we can only do so much.

Something for all us to remember – both for our parents and for our “old old” age.” Happiness is always a choice.

P.S. The above image is from a 1968 movie, What’s So Bad About Feeling Good? In which happiness really IS contagious. A virus is started by a toucan (that’s a bird).  George Peppard in all his young blond glory. Mary Tyler Moore. Giddy. Stupid. Fun. Happy Ending. HIGHLY recommended for a Friday night movie fest with pizza and – ahem – adult beverages.


About the Author

Mary Schmidt Has Written 26 Articles For Us!

Mary is a proud Corporate America refugee, having long ago decided that quality of life is far more important than quantity of stuff. However, that said, she thinks money is a very good thing - when used as a tool, not a success measurement. In addition to writing for us, she blogs about business development and marketing at www.maryschmidt.com and about marketing to and by women at www.lipsticking.com. In her consulting business, her clients have ranged from mega-corps such as Hewlett-Packard to local Mom & Pops.
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