Shifting Roles

February 8, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Family Ties | 1 Comment
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As a caring parent, you understand that it is your responsibility to care for your children.  Parents are the greatest role models in their children’s lives and have the greatest influence over all that they do.  Of course, kids will disagree, argue, and even rebel, but this is the truth.  I know, because I always looked up to my parents and expected that they would take care of me.

What is unique about adulthood, beyond the fact that you have to take care of yourself is that at some point, you actually start taking care of your parents.  I watched my parents play the duel role of caring for my brother and me while also caring for my elderly grandparents.  I always imagined that this happened later on in your life, since that is what I witnessed in my childhood.  But I am now realizing that it is something that starts a lot earlier than that.

When I was 14, my father had a heart attack.  It didn’t happen the way you always imagine it to. It’s a lot less dramatic than that.  He had been running, and felt a heaviness on his chest. He thought it was pneumonia. When he went to the doctor, the doctor said it was a heart attack.  My dad went on to have septuple bi-pass surgery and recover to the point where he was able to squeeze in one last marathon before returning to a life of regular exercise and a new focus on healthier eating.  When my father fell ill, my mother was completely distraught.  I, too, was scared to death, but I had to be strong for my family.  It was at this point that I realized that my parents were not gods — they were not immune to the troubles that befall regular people.  But I still saw my parents as strong and never really thought they could make any serious mistakes.

But now that I am living on my own, paying my own bills, and living my own adult life, I constantly worry about my parents.  They have been hit hard by the recession and I worry about their stability and their health.  I try not to think about it too much as I know it could consume me, but it’s always lingering in my mind.  They are not as young as I like to convince myself they are, but they are not old enough to rely on me either.  Still, I do everything I can to be there for them and to support them without letting it get to me.

I know they may still worry about me a little, but I think they have learned to trust that I will be okay.  I think I now worry about them a whole lot more.  It is in this shifting of roles that I am really amazed.  It is what is meant by the phrase, “circle of life.”  They gave me everything growing up and I plan to return the favor.

Thankful in an Imperfect World

November 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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It’s that time of year where we are all summoned to reflect on the good in our lives.  Sometimes it is hard to do this, particularly when there is so much bad in the world.  Some things just shouldn’t be the way they are, but you can’t control everything.

We shouldn’t be in this recession.  Families that have worked all their lives shouldn’t lose everything due to a bad economy.  Families should not feel forced to sell their homes just to live.  The housing market shouldn’t be in such bad shape that people for those who really do want to or need to sell.

Children should not go hungry or suffer serious illness.  Illness and the harsh reality of poverty destroys the innocence of too many young children, not just in “third world” countries, but right here, in our neighborhoods.

Mothers shouldn’t have to ride the subway asking for hand outs proclaiming they don’t drink, they don’t use drugs and they don’t smoke cigarettes. All funds raised will help her feed her children and prepare for job interviews.  The government and charities don’t have the capacity to save them all.

Animals should not be beaten. Nobody should be beaten, but there is no one more innocent than animals.  Animals may not get equal rights to humans, but they do not deserve to be used as punching bags for disturbed humans to vent their frustrations on.  Animals give unconditional love, unless given a reason not to.

No one should feel alone.  Yes, technically we experience life and death alone, but in the in between we should be able to confide in each other.

Nobody should ever have to fight for their rights.  We should all accept our neighbors for who they are, and if we don’t like them, then just leave it alone.  We should have better things to do that to tell other people who to live their lives.

All people should be loved, and experience being in love.  All people should have the chance to find their passion.  All people should be free, and respect others’ freedom.  All people should be able to express themselves.  All people should be able to see the light, even in the dark, because the dark will never go away, and sometimes you have to face it, and sometimes you can just look passed it.  All people should have the capacity to look passed the little things.

But we live in an imperfect world, and nothing is what it should be, so this Thanksgiving I am thankful for one thing in particular.  I am thankful for another day to make it all right.

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