My husband is in grad school, so for the past two years, I have been the sole provider for our family's financial needs. When we came up to take care of my parents, it seemed like things would be good: we'd get free room and board, I could get a part time job, and if we ran out of money, Mom and Dad agreed to back us up financially. Sounded like a pretty good deal, all the way around.
Unfortunately, I haven't had time to look for that part time job, nor would I have time to work it if I had it.
In the past 6 weeks, there have been 4 days, Monday-Friday, that I didn't have to take one or both of them to an appointment. At first, it seemed to be just a convenience to them to have me drive. Now, it's of the utmost importance that I go with them because they and the doctors need to use my memory (such as it is).
So, every once in awhile, I've asked them for some money. Do you know how hard it is, as an adult, to ask your parents for money? Maybe it wouldn't be hard for some people, but it is extremely difficult for me. Once, I waited too long to ask, and we overdrew our checking account! To an extent, I feel like I should be here taking care of them for nothing. They are, after all, my parents (honor thy father and thy mother includes caring for them in their old age), and they provided for me as I was growing up, and helped me a lot when I was a young adult, too. But the fact of the matter is, if I had a job, I wouldn't be able to be here, and they would be paying a whole lot of money for assisted living. Not to mention they wouldn't be able to stay in the home they know and love.
This morning, I had a talk with them, and we agreed to an amount. It's a far cry from what they would be paying to go to Assisted Living, but is enough for us, along with room and board and some work-from-home things I do, for us to get by. My husband and I have both accepted the fact that God will not allow us to be rich, because we have too much pride and too little humility to use it properly.
And maybe God will teach us some humility in the process.
The sweetest part of it was when they asked how much I wanted to be paid, and I said I didn't know and asked what they thought I was worth, Dad smiled and said, "Far more than we can afford to pay you."