Throughout the days, (and years) of my life. One thing I’ve always counted on was my parents. I didn’t however, intend to keep counting on them.
We’re supposed to become the ones who take and graciously accept the role of taking care of our parents as they become older in their lives. But as I have looked around, so many of us are still being taken care of by our parents. Sadly, we are a generation that is hurting greatly. Statics show that over 65% of college graduates and divorced single parents are moving back in with their parents. Crazy? Yes. Acceptable? Yes. Humiliating? Yes. Worthwhile? You better believe it.
I often sit down at the holiday season and reflect, (as we all often do at this time of year ) but this time, I looked back at my parents. Now my parents are alive and kickin, and when I say kickin’ you better believe I mean it! My Mother is 68 and my Father is 70 and neither one of them act their age (I mean that in the highest respect). They live in Fort Myers Florida in a gorgeous condo with a swimming pool in their lanai, they party with friends, head to the beach (they love watching the spring breakers) and when my friends and I come down, Lord we fall asleep before them! It’s a hoot I tell ya!
But all fun aside, I often get choked up thinking where I would be without them. And then I wonder do they know how much they mean to me? To my daughters? To all of us? How will they ever know?
At times I laugh at the things I do knowing now at the age of (ahem ahem almost 42) that they did the same stuff. Getting fed up with kids, bogged down with our projects, our homework, our demands! I laugh and picture my Dad pouring himself that Manhattan and my Mom cracking open a beer like they were “Thank God” rewards after a hellish week with three daughters all in school, all with extra-curricular activities, drivers education (one finishes, another starts) catechism, orthodontic appointments, the countless hospital trips for hands smashed in cars, stepping on nails, broken glass in the hand requiring plastic surgery with the never-ending (still this day I still hold the reigns) of “who has had more stitches in their lifetime competitions”. Oh, oh and please don’t forget the boyfriends we all had! My poor fathers beautiful silk black hair turned to beautiful white hair real quick! Oh they joys we must have brought them!! With two daughters of my own 16 and 19 and my boyfriends boys ages 10 and 12, hell I feel like I received my own little “Thank you” reward every time I pull the cork from a new bottle of wine. Ohhhhhh that sounds sooo lovely doesn’t it?
Truth is, our parents were human. As much as we saw them as gods, (or at times ‘wardens’) they really were human. I think now, at this age I appreciate my parents more than I ever thought I could. I’ve been through a lot the last 6 years with a 17 year marriage ending, to working full-time, raising two teenage daughters, starting to date again and even gathering the courage to call them admitting I needed help. We grow up never wanting to return home, or telling ourselves we don’t need them, but the older we get they more we need them and this is the time we begin to worry about what on Gods green earth will we do when they are not here? How will we manage? I can’t go it alone! As parents we always say we never want to bury a child, but as a grown adult we also say we never want to bury our parents. It’s a vicious cycle of who needs who more.
I’ve worked in an ob/gyn office for the last four years and see women for their annual exams every year. Some woman I have watched age for four years, and some women I’ve watched become Mothers, others sadly, I didn’t get to see the following year. I have a few sharp-witted older women that when I say to them “See you next year” they smirk back “I sure hope not”! I chuckle as I leave their exam room but at the same time it saddens me. I picture my parents saying that and it breaks my heart. Now I know my parents aren’t going anywhere soon but there will come a time, and I stop there never continuing the thought. I let it run out of my head as fast as it ran in. And then I punish myself for all the times I was a terrible child a defiant teen, or all the times I laughed at them and rolled my eyes. What I wouldn’t do to go back and re-do all of those moments, re-spend that time.
I guess we all go through it, but I, myself am having a particularly difficult time with it. I’ve dated a wonderful man for three years now and we have plans to marry, and for once I actually listened to my mothers dating advice. But one thing I look forward to immensely is having my dad walk me down to this man, dancing with my Dad, and this time, I won’t just focused on my future husband, but the moments I get to have again with my Dad. How many girls get that chance? I know, I for one, will cherish it.
So, Mom and Dad, we “Thank You” for tolerating us all of those childhood years and still tolerating us now. Today and everyday we hope you both know how much we love you, and appreciate you. Your efforts of non stop love and ever lasting support will continue to live through all of us so we may pass it onto your grandchildren. Madison, Nicole, Erica, Gabrielle, Daniel, Michael and Julia whom all love you greatly.
Love always, your little Lori. (Lisa and Kristina also)