Lots of people make fun of facebook; I am one of them. For me, home all day with little kids, facebook is two things; a window into people's lives who actually have a life and an adult voice. If I've been playing Princess Yanna for 2 hours, I can hop on facebook for 90 seconds, state an opinion, feel heard, and go back to drinking imaginary tea out of a green plastic tea cup (I NEVER get the pink one) while wearing a tiara and a bath robe (sadly, Disney doesn't make dress up clothes in my size).
My mom is a life-long smoker, my grandparents were life-long smokers. My Grandma quit smoking when she was 54 and died from smoking when she was 64 (the age my mother is now). My Grandma is the reason I don't smoke. Nearly all of my friends smoked; it wasn't always easy to be the only non-smoker. My grandma got really sick when I was about 13. My mom never had a ton of time with us to begin with because she worked a lot. When my grandma got sick, my mom pretty much disappeared from our lives and left us with our step dad. My Grandpa continued to smoke even while on oxygen, which made for some real family entertainment. We finally had to ask what kind of explosion we would be talking about; take out the house explosion or take out the kitchen explosion. Turns out that it would probably just have taken him and the chair he was sitting on. In any case, it never happened. My Grandpa took 15 years to die, fighting it the whole way.
I love my mom very much, but I will say this about her and I mean it; I am really angry at the choices she has made about her health. My mom watched both of her parents die from smoking and it was an interactive process, we all got to participate. My mom gave up a huge portion of her life to take care of her parents; she gave up her kids and it is a large part of her failed marriage. She has been an adult daughter left to care for ailing parents, and she has chosen the same path for me. A decision I find selfish and careless.
Boundaries are not my specialty. But here is what I know; I have made a conscious decision to be a non-smoker, my kids (to the best of my knowledge) are non-smokers. I will not give up my children for cigarettes no matter how much I love my mom. So, I find myself in an untenable position. I of the weak to no boundaries is having to set boundaries. It has been overwhelming and emotional to say the least. I spent Thursday at the Shedd Aquarium because I already had plans to take the girls there. I went, even though my mom is in critical care, I thought about her all day. I felt terrible, as a daughter, that I wasn't there, I wanted to be there. I did it anyway, because my kids didn't make this life choice, my mom did. My mom is an adult, she walked into this position with her eyes wide open; she knew exactly what she was choosing for herself, and frankly, I'm sure she knew what she was choosing for me. I know what I am choosing for me and my kids and it isn't an easy decision, but it is the right decision.
Which brings me back to facebook. Say what you will about how silly it is, how ridiculous that people share random and personal information with the world, and you're probably right. But it is also a surprising wealth of support when you are overwhelmed and feeling like it's all on you. Much research has been done about the power of prayer; this week, while I've just felt like a crazy person, facebook has felt like my own little prayer circle. People who I rarely see feel connected to me in a personal way, and I just wanted to say thank you in way more than the 440 words a facebook status update allows you. Thank you to each person who has taken a moment out of their own life to think about mine; it is a gift.