When I was younger, whenever I would go out, my parents would remind me to take my jacket in case it gets cold.
When I had creative projects due, my dad would put aside his exhaustion from a long day of work to take them to a whole other level.
When I was upset, my mom would comfort me and patiently listen to me complain.
When we went to restaurants, my dad would ask what we wanted and relay that information to the waiter on our behalf.
When I had basketball games, my parents would be first at the stands to cheer me on.
When I wasn’t feeling well, my parents would call the doctor and book appointments on my behalf, pick up the medications and remind me periodically to take them.
When I was craving certain foods, my mom, no matter how tired, would ensure I had it.
These are just a few ways my parents really owned that parent role. They put aside their needs and desires to assure my sister and I had ours.
But then, recently, I came across a few instances which prompted me to write this blog post.
A couple weeks ago I was speaking with this lady who was likely in her late 50’s or early 60’s. She told me a story about how she wanted to purchase an item online but had to wait to do so. She wanted to get approval from her daughter to process the online transaction as she wasn’t fully aware of how online payments quite work. After speaking with her daughter, she was devastated that she would have to put the sale on hold as her daughter did not approve of purchasing an item through an unsecured website.
And recently, when my parents enthusiastically told me they were going on a trip to the surreal sands of Great Rann of Kutch, I was overjoyed for them. They had yet to travel and discover the world and finally an opportunity came up where they were able to put all their thoughts, fears and stress aside and experience something so purely. In my excitement, I began listing off necessary attire they shouldn’t forget – jackets, extra socks, scarves and earmuffs. I also told my mom to take snacks for the long drive and to document the beautiful journey.
That’s when it had struck me – when did the roles reverse?
When did I start giving instructions and advice to my parents?
When did it become MY turn to take care of THEM?
Time flashed right before my eyes. The transition occurred and I didn’t even know it. Looking back, I realized the transition happened a while ago and is ongoing.
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different? ~C.S. Lewis
When we go out, I often take charge. I drive, I pay, and more than that, I speak on our behalf.
When someone has anything negative to say, I stand up for them.
When they’re not taking their medications in a timely manner, I lecture them and make sure they’re following instructions.
When they’re tired, I ensure they go to sleep at a decent time.
When they’re having difficult times, I make myself available to them to vent their stress.
These are some of the ways I realized the role reversed. Where I, the child, took on the parent role. Where I became responsible for them.
It frightens me how fast time flies and how much has changed when I look back on it. And it’s a great deal of pressure, to say the least, but the reality is when our parents get older, they need us more than ever. They dedicated numerous years for us, and, now, when we are on our own two feet because of them, it is our responsibility to ensure that they are and continue to be on their own two feet because of us.
Just like my parents owned the role – I must ensure that I do, too.
In the blink of an eye everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You may not have that chance again.
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