When I was younger, life was easier and I’m not talking about primary school younger. As a teenager, I had no worries that were greater than picking out a new outfit. My parents did it all. You name it; work, school, cooking, running errands, parent-teacher conferences and after-school activities.
I never once wondered how they did it all, especially coming from a different country and learning a new language. I always assumed, as many teenagers do, that they just know. Now, slowly rolling towards my 30s, I see them in a new light and a part of me is scared.
- Every health issue is a red flag in my mind ? They could just be coming down with the common cold, but in my mind, I am already elbow-deep into a serious Google search. (Note to self: never search for anything health-related online). Regardless, as my parents get older, I am faced with the stark realization that it?s my turn to take care of their health and that?s terrifying. As much as I’ve always viewed them as healthy and able individuals, I have to face the fact that age takes its toll.
- We talked about life insurance, and I wanted to throw up ? Recently, we had a meeting about life insurance and coverage for the ?unexpected.? I was not ready to have that conversation, because how do you stay objective and rational as you talk about picking coffins and cemeteries? Death is natural, sure, but these are my parents! Making it to the end of that meeting sane was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
- Seeing is not always hearing, especially when they?re going slightly deaf ? Actually, it?s the many eye exams and hearing exam appointments. Knowing that they won?t be able to read everything or hear others as well is difficult to digest. I feel like I’m a new mum and I don?t want to let them go anywhere alone. Eventually, there will come a day where they will probably have to go and do things on their own though. One of my friends said that as long as they have something like this hearing impaired phone, they should be fine to do things alone. These phones are a great idea, if they need any help they can just ring me. Perhaps that’s something to look at for the future.
- The age of gadgets ? Showing my parents how to use their new phones or tablets is one thing. Trying to explain to them that technology is not going to work properly about 97% of the time is something else. Unfortunately, neither one of us has the patience to make it to the end of that debate in peace.
- Becoming a nervous-Nellie ? When I watch the news about home break-ins and people getting mugged on their way to an ATM, my heart sinks a little more. Especially every time I have to leave them home alone. I have recently invested my time in learning some serious self-defense and getting ridiculous door locks.
- Switching to organic foods, vitamins, and Eastern healing ? I am buying so much kale, it hurts. Vitamins, supplements, articles on acupuncture, and daily yoga classes? I am doing it all. We come from a line of heavy eating drenched in oil. To turn this around 360 degrees is having quite an effect. Sometimes, not a great one for them.
- Opting to stay in ? As much fun as it is to hang out with my friends and take care of my errands and plans, I realise that time spent with them is time I will never regret.
- Listening instead of reacting ? I remember days where I would yell back at them during every argument. Now, I’ve learned to pick my battles and honestly, even the battles that look bad are really not. It?s all about listening. As much as I want to help them and fix their problems, more times than not, all they really want is a listening ear.
- Honouring their word ? No matter how much we may think differently, my parents? advice has never steered me wrong.
- Taking care of myself ? It?s the little things that show them that I can make it on my own. To show them that they’ve taught me well and that I am going to be just fine.
Granted, some of these points may be irrelative, but the fact remains: the tables turn and we become the parents in some way, shape, or form. We gain the knowledge and the nurturing love that they’ve shown us over the years. Then we pay it forward to the people who made us who we are today.
Thank you, Mum and Dad.