Thursday, April 03, 2008

Caring For Your Parents

I'm a little under the gun right now. It's 11:00 PM and this is my only time to write these thoughts. Earlier in the evening I fell asleep and slept longer than I should have. In spite of the occasional joys and benefits of naps, sometimes it annoys me when I fall asleep and lose some personal quality time in the evenings. After I awoke, I watched a two hour show on PBS entitled "Caring for your Parents". It was very enlightening, informative, and realistic based on my limited experience of dealing with aging and sick parents. The show profiled five families and their struggles and challenges dealing with elderly and sick parents. Some of you are part of my generation and are having this experience in your own lives. Others of you belong to my children's generation and have parents who are my age. For you this scenario seems a long way off. My children make jokes about my age but I doubt if they have ever seriously considered that I may end up very much like their grandparents some day. There are many things in life that we all know will happen some day but we only think about them in a kind of intellectual or hypothetical way. When the reality happens, it sometimes seems to have happened overnight. During the show I had the realization that in many ways all of life has come together in the moments that make up my current life. Looking at my family I have my very young granddaughter who is early in her journey of life and my parents and mother in law who are long on the journey and possibly near it's end. My children are adults now and on the threshold of their greatest adventures. My wife and I may be at our peak and are certainly in the autumn of life. My granddaughter is spring, my children are summer, my wife and I are autumn, and our parents are winter. Of course one point made in the show is that caring for aging parents is not all doom and gloom and work. The point was made that adult children often develop a much closer emotional relationship with parents as they care for them. Although I am not even close to being a primary caregiver for my father, when I visit with him now I feel a closeness that I have never felt before. There is a tenderness between us now that never existed when we were both younger. So, even though aging parents can be trying at times, I hope that this time in their lives...and mine...will someday be looked back on as a time of grace and enlightenment.

A friend sent me these delightful quotes from their daughter. They were too good not to share. This young child will be a future Zen Master.

Sometimes the greatest of quotes come from children. I wanted to share this one with you from my daughter, who is 8. Her little brother is now 12 months old. She said this one day in the car when her brother was being really fussy and crying."If you're tired, go to sleep. If you're hungry, drink your bottle. And, if you have to poop, just poop!"So simply put by an 8 year old! She also just recently said to me after I gave her a lecture on being trustworthy, "Mom, don't go all fortune cookie on me."

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