Spending time with our parents in their golden years is a privilege denied to many.
As we grow into adulthood, get married and have children of our own, we gradually begin to understand where our parents were coming from during our childhood and adolescence.
Things that they said, which confused and infuriated us, suddenly become clear as we hear the same words tumble out of our mouths when guiding our own children: don’t touch that; no you may not go to Steve’s house; and make sure you’re back from the party by 11!
As children, we often think of our parents as superheroes who will live forever. As we grow into adulthood we realise that this is not so. These moments of clarity that begin to punctuate our daily lives with increasing frequency are an indication that we and our parents are reaching a new level of understanding, one that we have never before enjoyed.
The playing field has been levelled and we are moving closer to being their peers. In time, the relationship dynamics might change yet again, and we could find our parents relying on us more and more. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to give back to loved ones that have given us so much.
It can be disconcerting to witness the slow ebb of strength and sanctuary that was so important to us when we were young, and often took for granted. Our relationship with our parents is one that evolves over time. Learning to embrace and cherish each stage of the journey will assist us to find happiness and fulfilment.
Spending time with our parents in their golden years, enjoying their company, looking out for their needs and helping them to navigate their way through the unfamiliar territory of reduced independence is a privilege denied to many. The importance of embracing the moments afforded to us is beautifully expressed in this poem.
TWO MOTHERS REMEMBERED by Joann Snow Duncanson
I had two Mothers – two Mothers I claim Two different people, yet with the same name. Two separate women, diverse by design, But I loved them both because they were mine.
The first was the Mother who carried me here, Gave birth and nurture and launched my career. She was the one whose features I bear, Complete with the facial expressions I wear.
She gave her love, which follows me yet, Along with the examples in life she set. As I got older, she somehow younger grew, And we’d laugh as just Mothers and daughters do.
But then came the time that her mind clouded so, And I sensed that the Mother I knew would soon go. So quickly she changed and turned into the other, A stranger who dressed in the clothes of my Mother.
Oh, she looked the same, at least at arm’s length, But now she was the child and I was her strength. We’d come full circle, we women three, My Mother the first, the second and me.
And if my own children should come to a day, When a new Mother comes and the old goes away, I’d ask of them nothing that I didn’t do. Love both of your Mothers as both loved you.