"Oh! You live right down the road from my childhood home."
"Yes. I know your third cousin, twice removed. He/she dated my best friend from high school."If you live in a small town these are normal statements. Coincidences are comman place. But after a few drinks the conversation changed from what-do-you-do-civility to tell-me-your-life-story. And then the topic of the aging parent came up.
I'll be honest when I tell you that when you reach a certain age the thought of losing a parent or dealing with a parent that is ailing becomes a concern. And until last night it was a concern that I firmly pushed to the back of my mind. The aging parent isn't my reality. My parents are both mentally sound and physically adept. Right?
Two of my companions last night were at the I-think-there-is-something-not-quite-right-with-Mom/Dad. The reality that their parents have aged has been thrust upon them. Suddenly. And without warning.
At what age are you prepared to be entrusted with the care of not just your children but your parents? Are you ever prepared for that reality? I know that in my case, the idea that the people I have always turned to for support, needing support from me, leaves me feeling incapable and more than a little terrified.
Listening to these women discribe vague symptoms and explaining their visceral reaction to situations that made strangers of the parents they thought they knew, left me cold and edging towards panic. The thought that I too was closer to this phenomenon than I cared to admit, left me wanting to drown my fears and push that raw emotion back down into depths of my psyche.
My mother hurt her knee a couple of weeks ago and I spent a full week caring for her while she recovered. She is doing much better now but still needs some help carting an carrying. And I'm happy to do it. Fact is, it gives me a little one-on-one time with her and some much needed alone time, away from my kiddos. But it also makes me realize that my time with my adult parents is slipping by. The idea that they won't always be here for me is painful and I desperately want to crawl up on my Mommy's lap and be the child once again.