I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while now. It’s something that’s been on my mind for some time and it’s amusing as well as surprising in small amounts from time to time.
Parents to children, are always the ones taking care of them, nurturing them and are the strongest ones in their eyes. That is until they start growing older, and so do you.
Around my mid-20’s I realized my parents have started ageing. It’s also the time I realized I should probably help around the house a lot more and be around for them a lot more. I’m listing out a few things that hit me since that revelation and how it’s impacted me as a person.
I think one of the first things that I learnt about growing older, is that you actually do become SLOW! And it only gets worse. Gone are the days when your Mom could run around finishing 5 things in a half hour. Or, your Dad running errands on the fly along with some other things he meant to finish. This, by extension also means that they’ll get frustrated and will take time to learn how to cope with it. Sometimes way too long!
What I realized when one of them (or both) started developing age-related issues is that in my mind, they could never fall sick, or be out of action, EVER! They’ve always been super-humans who could accomplish so much even when I could not despite my youth. That definitely starts changing.
They somehow suddenly find themselves with so much time with each other, they cannot take it! All their lives, at least my parents have always been the typical Indian-joint-family-types. Which many of my friends from joint families would realize means minimal privacy and alone time, especially when you’re the one taking care of the folks. Now, when the responsibilities have changed and they have so much time to spend with each other, they find themselves in a very new situation, and they find that both of them have changed so much over the years. They happen not to have noticed that until some point, and when they suddenly do, the kids(read me) find themselves refereeing a bit too much. Also, it is such a time consuming process. But it’s all good in the end, because they will gang up when it comes to you, whether it is to scold you about something you’ve screwed up at or their pride for you.
In all their wisdom and years of exposure, they will find themselves learning from their kids. And the kids will in turn start giving them advice. Tables turning? You bet! It does take time for them to adjust to that, but eventually if both parties try – it does become a relationship of friendship and co-dependency. And it’s so wonderful! It’s the best way to bridge that generation gap and it has ended up being very fulfilling for all of us. But at the end I could still never do without their approval in whatever I do.
The one thing I never thought would happen is the feeling of me being a parent to my parents. Despite the advice-giving, and all that, which is still ok, when you’re putting up with their old songs, instead of them putting up with your latest songs, you know you’re getting older for sure! :D
Since this is also a little about you getting older, you realize that what they said was actually true! You become more like your parents as you grow older and your partners start seeming more and more like one of them too! :P
The same irritating things about yourself that you could hide under a number of guises in your youth aren't that hidden anymore. And they will present themselves in unexpected and weird ways! It has been a lesson to me to work on my quirks for real and also be more tolerant to theirs lest my kids just can't put up with them some day. :-)
What is driven home is that this happens with everyone and one day I'm going to find myself on the other side too. I hope knowing this helps!
And having said all of this, I thank my stars every day for such wonderful parents who go out of their way, not only to keep me safe and happy, but also to understand me. They will always be the rock-stars who can do a lot more at their age than I can do at mine. No matter how much we fight or disagree, you guys are my rock and I love you!