As children, our parents seem so large, almost super human. Looking up at them in awe, love, sometimes fear or rebelliousness and wondering when would we get to be that big and do things the way we wanted—be our own boss. When would we get to cross the street without holding their hand and make what we wanted to eat for dinner, finish or not finish it and still watch TV?! We’ll show them! We’ll stay up all night and eat cookies. No one will stop us! We’ll take over the world sailing in a sea of chocolate milk.
We naturally take for granted all the care they put into our daily lives. I mean, they’re supposed to feed and clothe us. They’re our parents after all. Maybe they weren’t always smiling or laughing. Sometimes they were exhausted and cranky but here we are as adults. We made it! Now we go about our lives realizing with the power of being a grown up comes all the responsibility. Sometimes, we crave a home made meal, someone to wonder if we’ve made it home alright. Maybe even someone who cares enough to be a little tough on us when we need it. No punishments, we can be done with those. I mean aren’t taxes enough? Just kidding!
My parents are visiting me this week and it’s been so incredibly interesting. All of a sudden, I feel like the parent. I mean I’ve seen them getting older. They are at once old and tired and still vital and alert but in the end, I feel so responsible for them. When did this happen? I didn’t want them walking alone, especially at night, in a city they weren’t familiar with. I wanted to make sure they enjoyed all their meals and got to where they needed to go. That they got plenty of rest and were comfortable. They seemed so vulnerable, so human, so childlike even. Not only did I appreciate even more what they went through raising four children on one income, I appreciated the patience with which my Mom handled it and the great responsibility my father bore all those years. A few days and nights of “parenting” and I’m exhausted! Most days, I barely manage to take care of myself! How do parents do it and how do we handle the role reversal when it happens? I have friends who had to handle so much more. Sometimes putting parents in homes or hospitals for long term care or living with parents and taking care of them daily. It is the natural order of things I suppose, the cycle of life. And of course, part of me wonders what relationship did I have with my parents in a past life? What did we all have? Were we their parents, siblings, friends, spouses? How do you handle the role reversal? Has talking to a psychic helped?