Administrative Caca

Last weekend I was a book-reading fiend. I finished about four different ones over the weekend. One was short and the other three just had me completely sucked in. It was a gorgeous weekend with warm weather and sunny days which meant that other than errands, house chores, and yard duties, I tried to sneak as much time as possible to hide in between the pages of the books that captured my attention. The shorter one (at about 75 pages) is a book by Calvin Trillium who has been with the The New Yorker since 1963 among many other noteworthy achievements and books written.

Many of his books somehow connect back to his wife Alice. In the book I read over the weekend, “About Alice” it is a modern-day love story, but not in a cheesy, romantic style way. It is a genuine over-the-years deep love for his wife expressed over the 75 pages of this book. It is a quick read, but it left me with a deep contentment that love can and does last for that long, and only gets deeper with each passing year. I loved this idea on page 24:

“When we were in our early thirties, it occurred to me that one way to divide people we knew was that some of them were still dependent on their parents—financially or emotionally or some other way—and some of them had seen that role ended or even reversed. I never embarked on a study to see if that distinction was a predictor of how people handled what has to be handled to get through life—the small matters of logistics and maintenance that were known around our house as Administrative Caca, or serious issues of, say, catastrophic illness or financial disaster—but I suppose I always assumed that Alice’s early responsibility for her parents had something to do with her tendency to sit down and systematically deal with whatever problems came up.”

I obviously have never embarked on such a study, but for someone who began taking care of my mom at the age of twelve, I saw early on what it was like to have roles reversed. At twelve and sixteen respectively, my older sister and I were the mother to my mom at too young an age. When she passed, that role was then passed to my grandma who was in her nineties and needed more care than she let on.

I do think the shit life throws at you, as Trillium says the “Administrative Caca” (which is a new phrase I think I will adopt in my own vernacular), is telling to how we handle and manage our lives day-to-day. Maybe that is why I am a take-no-shit, deal-with-it-as-it comes kind of woman. I do not like things to fester. I like to deal with it and move on.

How do you divide? Have the roles reversed in your life?

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