What Have We Done?

If my mother, whom we call Sunshine, is all the things that we described in the About Us page, why and how did she come to live with me? Fair question. It’s a question that my husbandBatman and I revisit repeatedly. How did we get here? No, seriously, how? Really, how did we get here? Okay, all kidding aside, HOW DID WE GET HERE???!!!!


It’s a long story.


When Daddy died (ten years ago now), my mother Sunshine was alone in the house in which I grew up, and that house was in great need of repairs. For a lot of reasons, maintenance wasn’t kept up over the years. It was a big, old house and it needed work. Batman and I were in a good financial position, so we chipped in and helped my mother get some repairs (roof, electric, siding…) and updates (fence, garage door opener, refinishing the floors…) done to make sure the house remained livable.  It wasn’t exactly fun, but it seemed very necessary at the time.


Actually, when I say we chipped in, I mean WE PAID THE FULL COST AND MADE ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR the many repairs and upgrades that were needed. 


Eventually, there came a time when we realized a few things:


1.    Sunshine was never going to contribute to the cost of these projects

2.    This would never end; Sunshine would continue to add projects to the list

3.    Sunshine was going to complain about every project once it was completed despite the fact that she had made the final decisions on everything

4.     We had our own house to maintain and improve


So we stopped. We told Sunshine that we couldn’t continue undertaking these projects, but we thought her house was in good enough shape for her to continue living there. And it was; until it wasn’t.


There were still big issues that can naturally come with an old house: the plumbing was old and failing, the failing plumbing was causing new electrical problems and black mold, and a host of other issues. As each of those issues came to light, I tried to help my mother get contractors to fix these things. But Sunshine didn’t want me to help her; she wanted me to handle it myself, up to and including paying for the repairs. Since I wasn’t going to do that, the house just fell into further disrepair.


That’s right. Sunshine just let the house fall apart around her rather than call a contractor herself to get it fixed. She refused to call even when I gave her names and numbers of contractors. When I did make the calls, she wouldn’t answer the door to let them in unless I came there to manage the repair. She refused to get the house fixed and faced being condemned. The house deteriorated to the point that my mother Sunshine would have to spend thousands of dollars that she did not have to make it livable again. And by that time Batman and I had a family to care for so we couldn’t cover it for her. Sunshine had to sell the house. I didn’t see any other choice then and I don’t see one now.


Not just that, but Sunshine was also getting more and more forgetful. She was setting off the fire and/or burglar alarm several times a week. And since I was on the call list, alarm company called me each time. Pots left on the stove to burn; the alarm company calls. She sets off the burglar alarm; the alarm company calls. Three or four times a week; the alarm company calls. I live an hour away and the alarm company calls me to fix a situation I am powerless to handle. The stress was exhausting. Sunshine was aging. I didn’t think she needed to be alone. We have space in our home. So my husband and I invited her to come and live with us. Huge mistake. HUGE.


I don’t know what we expected. I don’t know why I continue to be surprised. I don’t know if the story of how she got here even makes sense to anyone who didn’t live it. I only know we are here and we regret it. I only know that as bad as Sunshine was before she moved in, she is much worse now. I realize now that there is no limit to the cruelty and the depths that she will go to get her way. I see now that she is completely narcissistic and probably beyond help. I’m stunned. I’m shocked. I’m flabbergasted and befrazzled. And I’m sad because seeing and accepting the truth sometimes makes a person very sad.


I have two children. Girls. My Impossible Miracles. They’re awesome and fun and wonderful. My less than humble opinion. Recently Batman and I took them to a baseball game and we all had a blast! As we left the stadium and headed back toward home, the girls sighed heavily. How could they be sighing?! We just had a great time watching one of our favorite teams win with a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth!! What’s to sigh about?! “We don’t want to go home because Grandma’s there and she’s miserable.” Wha? Oh, my! Heavy sigh. Shaking my head. Long and heavy sigh. What have we done? How did we get here? What an awful, awful mistake.


— Jennifer

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