Saturday, December 12, 2009

Taking The Blinders Off

Maybe because I had a birthday a couple months ago,
and the number of my birthdays is getting frighteningly large.

Maybe because it made me consider my own impending geriatrichood.
After all, I'm able to join AARP now.

Maybe because I recently bought long-term care insurance -
just in case BS doesn't want to change my diapers in my old age.

But I have been reluctantly thinking about my parents in an inevitable new light.
Why reluctantly?
Because when you are young, you see your parents as eternal,
ageless, bigger-than-life,
and always there to take care of you.

But, they're not, are they?
After a certain point, you start to see the changes coming faster.

And there comes a time when we have to start taking care of certain things for them.
The circle of life spins on.

My Mother's Hands:

Her hands could soothe a hurt,
stroke our hair,
cook our favorite meal,
bake us cookies,
make us dresses,
and sew a quilt for her newborn grandson.
They could write long letters in a dying art,
paint pictures,
hug her grandchildren,
grade her students' papers.

My mother's hands were magical.
They were tireless.
An artist's hands.
There was nothing they couldn't do.

And when I wanted a certain dinner for my birthday a couple months ago,
they provided, as I simply assumed they would.

But I didn't think.

Those hands are getting tired.
They are connected to arms & legs & feet & a back that ache with age and arthritis.
Cooking that meal was a labor of love
and a labor of pain.

I'm sorry Mom.
And thank you.

My Father's Feet:

His feet were rarely still.
They traveled the world in his Navy days and
carved a path for his little girls to follow while he pushed the lawnmower.
They could pedal a bicycle built for 4 (with 3 little useless passengers),
run in a triathalon,
hike the mountains,
ski the black diamond slopes,
kickstart his motorcycle,
carry him all over the house while he fixed anything that needed fixing.

My father was invincible, all-knowing, and always willing to lend a hand.
He knew everything,
and anything he didn't know, his brother Dick knew . . .
or so he claimed *wink*
(my sisters know what this means).

But now the feet don't run or ski anymore,
(although he hasn't given up on the bike or kayak just yet).
They cause him to stumble and fall more & more.
His eyes have turned traitor.

I worry when he drives back to North Carolina in the dark with only one good eye.

My parents are still all of those things that they were.
But it's just harder for them to show it these days.

And there comes a time when we need to see our parents for who they are now,
not colored by how we saw them as children.
Appreciate who they were, but accept who they have become.
Be grateful for all their gifts.
And love them always.

I have my mother's hands, but mine can never do all the things hers could.
I have my father's feet, but I can never fill his shoes.


nana said...

Good one, Rootie! Love, Nana

Sista G said...

Wow - you just hit the nail on the head, and made me think back on many of those things. It made me blubber, but it was a good kind of blubber - thanks to you for the perfect, sweet summaries, and thanks to our Mom and our Dad for Rootie being able to say those things!!

Anonymous said...

If I was over that word verification thing and commenting, I say "Here, here" and toast your lovely post. But I'm not...

marry said...

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