My daily mantra: “It is what it is”. Nope, not the serenity prayer. Serenity doesn’t accomplish the gritty tasks of daily life. And the serenity prayer implies I am good with the some of the things that children or nieces and nephews should never have to know about their elders.
First, family secrets are meant to be kept secret. That is why they were secrets in the first place. Because no one would understand and the younger generation would be saddened. Not horrified (because this is 2013) but saddened about these lives as they had to be lived. (No, I am not talking about Dad. OTHER relatives in our care.)
The list of things I don’t need to know about my relatives (not my Dad):
- that the bed linen was changed some time in the early part of the last century;
- that elders can continue live in filth, even if they are part of “good families” and fight change;
- that testosterone levels are low (ok, this is a good thing); and
- every little detail about urinary tract and colon activity, with visuals.
Now comes the mantra: “It is what it is.”
And SOB and I are the new sheriffs in town and so we need to invoke base level sanitary standards, base level responsiveness to our calls (other than just in times of crisis), and full capitulation to our will and our loving vision of how they will live out the remainder of their lives. Because, although they didn’t ask for it (exactly), they understand that they need us.
Here is my bottom line:
If I need to know family secrets that disgust me and deal with facts on the ground that gross me out, there is a quid pro quo: Disobey SOB’s and my benevolently despotic decrees at your peril.
Because “it is what it is” is more than a phrase to live by; it is a threat AND a promise.