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Visiting with mom and dad

April 16, 2010

My parents are coming to visit this weekend.   The relationship between child and parent seems poetically symmetrical.   As a child, our parents look after us, and late in life, roles often reverse and the child helps to look after the parents in their most senior years.  During the intervening decades of life, the nature of the  relationship with our parents seems to change many times.    

At four or five years of age, we cling to them, hiding behind their legs and peering up at strangers they might be talking to, like the mailman or neighbor from the house on the corner.   Soon enough though, we want a bit of our own space , and by the time we are in our early teens, it seems cooler to be seen with anybody but our parents.  “Please mom, your embarrassing me.  Can’t you just drop me off?  I can walk from here – the mall isn’t that big.  I’ll be fine.”   By the time High School is over, we are driving ourselves around, and are taking our first real steps of independence whether starting work or going on to school, perhaps states away.   From the vantage point of 18 or 19 years, we see our parents differently depending on the day of the week.  One minute they seem so clueless, so out of touch with the new reality of “today’s world”, and the next minute, they are the people you most want to call with your last quarter.   I wonder how our pervasive connectivity via cell phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook updates change the flavor of this transitional period for the generation just leaving the nest today?

Sometime in our twenties, we realize our parents aren’t so dense after all.   We’ve had a enough life experience to just begin to appreciate the wisdom that several more decades brings.  In my job, I deal with many students just off to school.  Everything is in crisis mode for them – if whatever isn’t done by yesterday, the world will come to an end.  At 40, I’m just getting to the point where I still worry, but realize that a lot of things can be negotiated, and that much of the box we find ourselves in, is that of our own construction.  I marvel at the perspective my grandparents accrued, being born in the first decade of the last century, living through the depression, deciding to marry after their first date, serving in WW II, and adapting to the exponential change in human technology – automobiles,  flight, atomic power, space travel,  all in their lifetime.   Oh, the things I wish I had known enough to ask them…

So, now I find myself in these comfortable middle years where I think I might finally be past the point of feeling the need to prove that I turned out ok, and that I’m secure in who I am and where I’m going, and now visits with my parents are more like spending time with long friends.  I can see them as people now, as well as family.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2010 2:43 pm


    Sometimes I feel so lucky that all the things I am enjoying as a person are due to my parents.There are many memorable moments I had with them and still do so 🙂

    I still remember my dad reading the Trojan war for me everynight before I went to bed.In the present time they always stress upon me to use technology and knowledge in a correct way-be it the internet or Computers. Because they want me to reap the benefits of technology

    Last week my mom just came by my side and was keenly watching what I was doing over the internet.I was logged into the forums at that time.When I explained that its a place to help out other people,she patted me and encouraged me to continue what I do there 🙂

    My grandparents nutured my ethics and used to share some interesting stories too :)coz my he was working in an ammunition factory during WW-2.

    There is an old Indian saying in sanskrit -“Matru devo bhava” ,”Pitru devo bhava” which means Revere your mother and father as God.They are next to almighty for me 🙂

    Have a good time



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