“You can get used to anything,” my mom used to tell me. 

Mostly, I found, she was right. 

I got used to hard work in high school, taking tons of AP classes and volunteering for everything, a trait I still have today, to the point that any actual leisure time kind of freaks me out. 

I got used to bitterly cold winter weather in Missouri and would laugh at New Orleans people wearing down jackets in 65-degree weather when I’d come down for a visit over the holidays. 

I got used to doing blood thinner shots during my pregnancy, two a day for nine months, self-administered into the fat on my stomach and thighs. I practiced on oranges, which were good practice for how quickly to push down the stopper but not good practice for how badly heparin burns when you’re injecting it into yourself and not citrus fruits. I have no patience for people whining about vaccines. 

Although “you can get used to anything” was solid advice, my mom maybe took it too far sometimes. 

She was a lifelong renter, and she was forever finding innovative ways to rig things when she should have just asked the property owner to fix them properly. 

She would tolerate behavior from romantic partners that should never have been normalized. 

She was so eager to just keep moving forward that she didn’t always carefully consider the most strategic or advantageous path. If it went forward, she’d take it and worry about fallout later.

But she was right: You can, ultimately, get used to anything. 

If you’d asked me even three weeks ago about putting my father into long-term care, I would have told you I would move heaven and earth to keep that from happening. 

But here we are, looking at the stark reality of the situation before us, and I have gotten used to the extremely bleak fact that we have no other options. 

My father will be 85 in December. He can barely walk. He is in such deep dementia that last week he became furious that Donald Trump was in his house. (To be fair, I’d be pissed, too.) 

He cannot live alone.

My husband and I both work, we have three kids between us (two still at home), and we live in a house that barely fits the four of us plus the dog.

He cannot live with us.

And we don’t have a hidden castle full of money (although I wish every day that we did).

He cannot have 24-hour in-home care.

So here we are. 

I don’t like it, but I went from “I’d die before I put my father into care” to “What time can we come tour your ‘retirement village’?” in less than a month. 

You can get used to anything. 

Except not having my mom here with me and not having my dad really here with me. 

I’m not used to that. I can’t get used to it. Sorry. I refuse.