1/29/2010

One Thing About Getting Older

No I am not going to talk about losing your hair, or forgetfulness. I am not going to mention the fact that our bladders grow weaker and we are in bed by 9pm. I am not talking about an AARP membership or free senior specials. I am talking about when our parents die.

Many people I know have lost a parent at a young age, but since I have turned 40 I have seen many friends go through the death of a parent.

When you are an infant you rely on everything from your parent. Your clothing, your cleanliness, your nutrition and love that comes from your parent. You thank your parents for this by throwing up on them, maybe throwing up in their mouths, peeing on them, keeping them up late at night and screaming at the top of your lungs.

Then you turn an age where you start walking, everywhere. You think that you can climb every rock, every mountain and run through every road. You are everywhere from morning till nighttime. Your parent is there to guide you, protect you and make sure you have just the right amount of independence, while still giving you love, food, and clean diapers. You in turn give them asthma attacks from running after you, heartache when you go down the slide for the first time all by yourself, and hurt ears from still screaming at the top of your lungs when your parent will not let you play in that road with all of the pretty cars.

Then when you start school you have them dropping you off, picking you up, helping with homework and teaching you about bullies and how when a boy picks on you that means he likes you. You thank your parent by hiding your bad grades, rolling of the eyes, and your pretty much still screaming your head off because your parent just doesn't get it.

In middle school it is hard for the parent to know when to start letting go more. You are on the phone with your friends more, trying to spend the night, staying far away from your parent while you are asserting your independence. You want to go to dances, by yourself or with the girls, you want to go shopping with your girlfriends, you want to talk on the phone until midnight and don’t understand why you cant have unlimited texting on your cell phone or why can't you stay up till dawn. You thank them by again rolling your eyes, not speaking to them, grunting and I am sure there are a few door slams in there.

Then there are the teenage years. You're in high school and you might be participating in sports and working. You expect your parent to pick you up and drive you where ever you need to go on time. You expect them to have a snack and a cold drink waiting for you in the car after sports. You expect them to listen to you as soon as you want to talk. You expect them to drop everything and drive your homework, books, gym bag or purse to them at that moment where ever you are. You expect them to always be there when you want them to be there. You do not want them looking over your shoulder while you are online, you do not want them checking your email when you are not around. You do not want them contacting your teacher about your grades and you do not want them to hassle you about what you are going to do with your life.
You thank them by not saying thank you, not helping around the house and still by slamming your door, turning your music on high and screaming at the top of your lungs.

Sometimes things get better and sometimes they get worse, there are reasons and people out there who did not live happily ever after and are much better without their parents in their lives. But for those of you who have attained a friendship with your parent and are proud to have had a parent like them, you should call your parent and tell them so. You should say thank you for all the times you could not or would not say thank you.

This week I have been with 2 people whose parent has died. It is not easy and there is a lifelong pain that will never go away. You will always think of them at monumental moments, or if it is just the weekly catch up call you normally have or the Sunday evening meal with your parent. People say that death is something that you need to let go of, but how can you let go of someone who has always been there for you and who always, unconditionally loved you?

Think of the following and never forget:
When you graduated from high school/college, who was/is there for you?
When you got married, who was/is there for you no matter how much of a bridezilla you were? When you found out you were pregnant who was on your top 5 list to call?
When your beautiful baby was born, who was there waiting to hold your precious child?
Who did you call to talk about the turbulence that you are having with your own child?

Now take the parent out of the picture, who would you call now?


Don't take them lightly. At our age they can be gone in a blink of an eye. Make most of your memories and time spent. It will be the only thing you have to hold on to.

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