Long story short: my parents’ separation isn’t going that smoothly. Big surprise there. My sister and I have been doing everything we can from afar, but there will always be limitations to what we can do for them, without actually being them, or at least, being physically present with them while we try and do things for them.
Naturally, the whole ordeal is often exasperating, and leaves the both of us on the phone with ourselves, venting to one another about just how they could possibly drive us even more up the wall than they already are. Ultimately, the conversations steer back to the fact that they’re our parents, and we’ll do whatever it is we can to make sure that they’re okay, because that’s what supposed good children do once they’re adults, they help their parents.
To those paying attention, know that recently my bank account took a fairly substantial hit, on account of some decisions that my parents made, without necessarily doing enough (read: any) checks and balances to what repercussions may come about with spontaneously changing bank accounts. Although the incident from a few days ago wasn’t the first time that this had occurred, it was undoubtedly the worst, seeing as how it completely zeroed out that particular bank account and rendered my daily purchases and ability to pay bills compromised until repaired.
That being said, I visited my parents recently, not necessarily just to attempt to fix their problems, but because ultimately, no matter how much they upset me or make me not want to see them, the good prodigal son that I pretend like I am, I still feel that it’s somewhat necessary to periodically check in on them; usually the trips involve a few meals, reading any mail that might be confusing to them, and inevitably, seeing what kind of virus protection scans haven’t been done, and the numerous Windows Updates they haven’t initiated, and they’re wondering why their machines are so slow or completely compromised by malware.
To cut to the chase, I’ve identified, fixed and repaired all of the maladies that led to my own account being withered and zeroed out, and for absolutely zero reason other than my dad phyiscally being present next to me while speaking with a banker, I was able to have my rightful money placed back into my bank account.
The problems are solved. I think. For now.
But the reason I felt like writing this was that throughout this whole niggling ordeal, I’ve had numerous people who basically kept telling me that my parents were grown adults and that they should try and take care of themselves, and not rely so heavily on my sister and I to fight all their battles for them.
I really want to agree, and a part of me does, but even if I do, it still doesn’t change the fact that I often times want to, and inevitably do, fight my parents’ battles for them. Ultimately, the thought process in my head in regards to all this is often times like the proverbial angel and devil on my shoulders, except they’re both saying to help my parents, even if their rationales are completely different.
Angel says: help your parents, because you’re a good, dutiful son, and helping your parents is what good, dutiful sons do. Your parents will be grateful (whether or not, that’s yet to be determined), and something something about good karma and all that jazz.
Devil says: help your parents, because if you don’t help your parents now, they’re not going to fix it themselves, and in the current state of them being financial problems, they’ll compound, snowball, and become an even larger mess with even greater consequences if not dealt with now. They’ll have debt collectors hounding them, funds taken out of everyone’s accounts, inevitably lose their homes, have to move in with my sister and I, and become massive burdens where they feel guilty, I feel guilty, and we’re all absolutely miserable. So help your parents now; or suffer later.
Either way, if and when conflicts like this arise in the future, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that I’m going to help my folks out. Whether the motives are righteous or plain selfish, the conclusions aren’t really going to change.