This has been a trying week to say the least. I’m not going to bore you with details but to put it in simple words, every outfit I’ve worn in the past seven days stinks of hospitals and Critical Care Units. I have come to the realization that within every family dynamic there is one brave human that thinks with logic when the others succumb to emotions. It isn’t always the oldest or the strongest. It can be the grandfather, the mother, the daughter, anyone really. In my family, fortunately/unfortunately, it is me.
I say unfortunately because the older I get, the bigger the problems get and it is very difficult to put on a brave face when my emotions are begging to be let out. I say fortunately because when I do cry, I’d like to be left alone without someone constantly nagging me, telling me everything will be ok and this way, I get to go home, shut my door and cry peacefully.
We have all been told at some point “Take some responsibility.” So many of us have sat through hours of story-telling where our parents or grandparents explain how ‘when they were our age’ they used to do so much and the kids these days ‘are always beeping on that thing’. While some smart people understand the reason behind those words the very first time it is said, people like me have to go through certain bad experiences to realize it.
Type the words “parents growing old” on Google images and you will see this quote in 8 of 10 pictures :
“Love and appreciate your parents. We are so busy growing up that we often forget, they are also growing old.”
The reason a parent asks you to be responsible or to do things around the house is not because they want you to learn to do your chores or because they want to make sure you’re doing something. It’s simply because their ability to do everything is slow fading away. What they really need is your help and they don’t want to put it in those words. When a parent asks for help, we tend to get a little worried about why they cannot do something and they want to avoid that. Because what they understand that we don’t is that – Life, it is a circle. What your mother or father did for you as a child is exactly what they end up needing eventually. They try to put it off for as long as they can and let you lead a normal life.
I never saw it that way. I always believed my mother was trying to train me so she can get me married. That she was simply trying to get me off of my computer. She hates that I’m always on the internet. My father wants me to do some work or the other. He never lets me do what I want. Always at his beck and call. Oh, they just cannot let me sit down for just a few minutes ! – All they were doing is asking for help but never putting it in quite those words. The inability to accept what was once a piece of cake was now starting to become very difficult. The feeling of not wanting to say it out loud.
Though they do this for our well-being and for our emotions, a lot of bad tags along with it. Either we never learn the reason for us to be responsible or it comes and lands on us like a ton of bricks. We suddenly realize that they’re old. They can no longer drive all night, eat what they want and have fun like they used to. The time spent laughing away and lifting you on their shoulders is now time spent eating tablets and struggling to do simple tasks around the house.
I know it is not an easy realization but the sooner we understand this, the better it is. The last thing we want to be doing is to sit around years from now and wish that maybe we’d noticed sooner. Maybe we’d helped more. Maybe we’d fought less. Maybe we’d laughed more. Maybe we’d told them how much we love them. Maybe they could still be here..
To every parent, everywhere.
With gratefulness and love.