Monday morning alone in a hospital waiting room. My stepdad has been going through a series of tests and procedures recently. I think if you reach a certain age, and they run enough tests, they are eventually going to find something wrong with you.
As you grow up you watch the things that your parents do for your grandparents, but you can’t truly appreciate the shift in the child parent dynamic until you experience it yourself. My parents are all 72. I was raised by my mom and stepdad, and my dad and stepmom. Both my parents remarried when I was about 5. I never felt like I missed out having divorced parents. My family was just twice as big as everyone else’s. Twice the parents, twice the grandparents, twice the cousins, and so forth.
Having aging parents I’m understanding that I also have twice the responsibilities for my aging parents. My stepmom passed from cancer in September, and I worry about my dad alone in Florida. He has amazing friends, but there is a constant knot in my stomach that he’s so far away. Thankfully my mom and stepdad are here in Arizona now, but as they age that “parenting dynamic” continues to change too.
I now find myself taking days off work for my parents medical procedures and doctors appointments. I find myself asking the most questions during doctor consultations. I’ve spent the night in the hospital with a sick parent. I’ve taken emergency flights across the country to say goodbye.
I feel like I’m parenting in two directions. Parenting children with chronic illness means as they grow up the demands don’t reduce. Instead it’s a balance between teaching them to self advocate and ensuring they do what they need to (and we all know that teenagers love doing what they are supposed too right…). Teenagers can be stubborn…just like their grandparents can!
It’s a reminder that you never really have any idea what someone else is going through. That each stage of life carries its own challenges. It also reminds me that each stage also brings blessings. A greater appreciation for your parents. The gift of time spent together, even if those are difficult sometimes. A great appreciation one another.
So, on your worst day make it a point to look for your blessings. It might be as simple as good coffee in a waiting room, a nice nurse, light traffic, or a good nights sleep. Just look hard. Once you find your blessing it will keep the world in perspective.