Chaos Chronicles 515: Panini Generation Update; Olympic Fever; Parenting Average Children

by Lian on June 1, 2012

How awesome are these Lego Olympians? Alas, available only in the UK. I hope you Brits appreciate the Legos more than you seem to be appreciating London 2012.

On the show this week:


The Panini Generation: Living with Alzheimers

From the Los Angeles Times: Patty Davis on the chains that break, the link that forms in Alzheimer’s

Olympic Fever: I want Dara Torres’ Flat Belly

Parents of Average Children Unite

Plus, To Do List

Embrace your Chaos, Lian
Want more audio entertainment this weekend? Lian and Liz interview writers Claire Cook and Jennifer Egan.


CLSD OPEN June 6, 2012 at 4:32 AM

Lian, Bill is correct—best podcast ever—hope you can submit it somewhere for a definite win!! We’re all thinking of your family as you all deal with the progression of your dad’s disease. As with everything else, your perspective on things helps the rest of us with the things we are dealing with. So glad your family is all pulling together to help your parents. Not an easy thing to do when you’re raising your own kids. Hang in there and stay well! One day at a time.

T. Smith June 6, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Have to share a story my SIL told me about two of her sons. They were sitting around the dinner table talking about colleges. Her holdest (which will be starting high school) named off about 5 of his top college choices. After he did this, the middle son piped up and said, I’m going to whatever college will take me!

Melissa E. June 4, 2012 at 8:31 PM

As many before me have so eloquently stated, thank you so much for sharing as you have. My mother is the youngest of six siblings, and I have come to appreciate what a challenging role being the youngest is. She was in her 30s when her father passed away, in her 50s when her mother passed. Three of her siblings have now passed. Adult children caring for and making decisions regarding aging parents (and aging family members in general) is such an emotional and complex issue; thanks again for your grace and candor. Best wishes to you all.

pat in o.c. June 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Excellent show. Again, my prayers & good wishes to all of the Dolan Family, near & far. Your Father is blessed to have such a circle of love around him. It’s a lovely lesson you are teaching all of your children too – love is #1, in good & bad times.

Your son will be fine wherever he attends college. If actually likes science and math, he’s way ahead of the game.

I think you deserve a giant frozen yogurt.

Cyndi June 4, 2012 at 4:12 AM

Lian, what a moving podcast … thank you for bravely sharing your experience with everyone. I am also touched by the stories of those who have gone through or are going through similar situations. It’s the stories that we are willing to share that can help others, perhaps not today, but down the road. We will all face issues of declining health in our loved ones at some point and if we can give them the dignity they deserve (while maintaining our own sanity and energy!) we will be doing our best. We are all only human so even our mistakes and frustrations are part of the learning “how to care”. Remember caring for your first baby? Trial and error and when you master one stage, they are quickly on to the next. I’m imagining that it must feel similar to caring for your dad. I wish you and others peace in your journeys or in your reflections of journeys ended.

t3zoo June 3, 2012 at 3:19 PM

This episode really should win a broadcasting award. It is truly special.

Like so many others, i also cried listening to Lian talk so frankly about her dad. I lost my father three and half years ago in very different circumstances: in October 2008, my father had a seizure that revealed several tumors on his brain, and seven weeks later he had died of stage 4 melanoma three days after Thanksgiving. On the Sunday night before Thanksgiving, he and I a long phone conversation about the upcoming Presidential election, about the state of the world, and about the Thanksgiving dinner I was preparing. In reality, it was a conversation about how much we loved each other and loved talking with each other. The next day, he awoke disoriented, was hospitalized, and rapidly declined. Like Lian, I take that last phone call as the last time my dad really knew me. That represented our relationship and love. The next days, when he was alternately agitated, disoriented and ultimately unresponsive were terrible of course, but I don’t think they were our goodbye. So even though our fathers’ illnesses were very different, I think that we’ve had strangely similar experiences with this very difficult loss. Lian, thank you so much for expressing it so eloquently on your podcast. It upset me, and made me feel supported and less alone at the same time.

Now, on a lighter note, these darn kids….Yes, these underachieving, average kids are a killer! I LOVE the idea of a Facebook support page where we post, “So proud of Johnny’s C- in English!” It’s along the lines of a bumper sticker I always threatened to have made, “Disappointed parent of a basic skills student.” Ha! Ah well, as my 9th grade biology teacher said while proctoring the SATS, there is a college out there for each and every one of you!

Again, thank you, Lian. Incredible show.

Lian June 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Thanks, all. As usual, we learn from each other.

No easy answers, no right path and really no need to beat yourself up over not doing all the right things. Nobody does that. But I think we usually try to do the best that we can– at the time in our life and our own maturity. End of life issues are so, so hard– and dealing with them at 20 or 30, we just may not have the life skills to pull that off as we wish.


William J. June 3, 2012 at 7:25 AM

I don’t know if the Gracie’s have a category for the best single podcast of the year but if they do get ye buns in gear and submit this podcast for consideration because it is a winner.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but it is really your fault. I don’t think I have ever been taken through so many emotions in such a short period of time as I was by this podcast. Pride. Thankfulness. Regret. Understanding & an answer to a question that has been troubling me since my dad died.

My freshman year in a college I was in an accident that resulted in going from a semi-coma to walking without aid. It took eight years. My parents were there with me every step of the way. They lost all their money due to medical bills and had to start life over from scratch in their fifties. They gave me my legs back. I take great pride that when the opportunity presented itself for me to pay them back I took it. I have made many mistakes in caring for them but I did my best with dad and am still doing my best to make Mom’s life easer for her.

I’m very thankful that even though dad had dementia he never once forgot my name. He always knew who I was. His problem was he was always living in a different time period. When he grew up on a dairy farm. When he owned a roofing company. He was always telling everyone that he was going to get a job. This is where the regret comes in. I know now that when you have a relative suffering from dementia it is a time to be loving not a time to be right. I wish I had done a better job of controlling those natural instincts to be right and went more with the flow. I wish when he said he wanted a job instead of correcting him I would have went over and got the want ads and read them with him. When Mom was in the hospital due to a stroke and I had to take dad to business meetings that instead of being embarrassed I would have introduced dad as my assistant. I know regret is a useless emotion, I just hope someone can learn from my mistakes.

I have wondered for years why it took me so long to cry over my dad’s death. I thought maybe it was because I felt guilty for feeling relief when he died. I was relieved that he didn’t have to suffer anymore. Selfishly I was relieved that I didn’t have to watch the man I loved so much decline. But now I know. It was because I never really said good bye to him. I cried a lot listening to your podcast. Like Kristin I walked away from it more than once. Last night before going to bed, I got down on my knees and prayed. I said a proper good-bye.

Beth, anniversaries are hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kristin my blessings are with you and your family.

Lian all I can say is thank you.


Beth June 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Thank you for the podcast. I listened on my laptop and I feel so honored that you shared the experience and sense of on-going loss that you feel with regard to your dad. Today is the 15th anniversary of my dad’s death and I lost both of my parents in gut-wrenching stages. I am glad that you have found comfort in the words of someone who has walked the path before you. I pray for you and your family every night. Please don’t ever fret about missing a podcast. It is important that you take care of yourself and spend time with your loved ones. A big Minnesota bear-hug to you,
P.S. Blessings to you too, Kristin.

Kristin June 2, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Lian, as usual, I loved the show. Admittedly, though, I had to stop listening today as I cried while running. While my dad’s illness is not Alzheimer’s, your words channeling Patty Davis, saying goodbye in stages, is something I have found myself doing with his current battle. He is doing well post-bypass, but I have been far more prepared than I my sister with the aging of both my parents. Coming to terms makes all that process easier. While your panini generation includes college exploration, mine is dealing with middle school coming. Know that I, as the rest of the Crew, treasure you letting is in on your chaos. :)

T3zoi June 1, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Oh, my, goodness, best episode ever, so more comments to come but first, I don’t even know what I look like behind my shoulders! Really, Beyonce, really?

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