Oct 25, 2013

The Circle of Life

It is your turn now.

You are used to seeing them active and managing work and home without flagging even a little bit. Now the gait is getting slower, the hands once soft and manicured, strong and sturdy are as lined and wrinkled as autumn leaves. The back bents a little more with each passing season. You see the changes and yet you don’t want to see them.
They taught you how to tell time and helped your plump little fingers dial your first number on the phone, but now your smartphones and gizmos are beyond them and you curb your irritation when for a thousandth time they ask you how to send a simple sms or check mail. 

They were the ones who taught you how to drive and then drove you crazy with their constant back seat driving. Now it’s your turn to worry when they take the car and they are not home when they said they would.

They could take away the pain from your bruises and cuts with a few soft words. A cool hand was enough to sooth a forehead burning with fever. Now it’s your turn to fret over their back aches and their blood sugar scores and get exasperated when they refuse to go for their medical checkups.

From asking their advice on everything mundane and not so mundane, you find yourself voicing your opinion more and more often and not liking it when they don’t do as you say. From sharing everything with them, you start hiding a few unpleasant facts so that they don’t worry. Instead you are the one who develops worry lines thinking about them.

The changes are there. Almost imperceptible, but there. Inspite of all their show of independence, there is a sudden lack of confidence, a slight dithering in decision making, an occasional need for reassurance.

And yet they stubbornly refuse to give in. They still manage their own affairs, want to travel alone, drive themselves everywhere. They might walk slowly, but still snatch away their hand in irritation when you try to guide them over the uneven path.

Their egos are fragile and so you try to indulge them. But slowly, unobtrusively you take over the driving, the weekly shopping, their paperwork. You start cooking more often, although you’d avoided the kitchen like the plague earlier. You are the one haggling more and more with the electricians and the plumbers and making sure the house runs smoothly.

And suddenly you realize that you are the generation that now has to step in and take charge. At the back of your mind you always knew that this day would come. But when it does, you don’t want to accept it.

You long to fling the responsibility back at them, refuse to acknowledge the changes and what they mean. But you can’t. This you must accept. It’s inevitable.

It’s the circle of life.



38 comments:

  1. It is hard Ruchira, it is hard to hand over the reins. I am the older generation. You find that the monthly groceries have been bought, the veggies are in the fridge and you are redundant. Part of you admires them for the way they are taking over, part of you frets ... feels supplanted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think its hard on both sides Ritu. The children worry about the parents getting old, don't want them to get stressed. Cant imagine a life without them. The parents are reluctant to accept this and as you rightly say sometimes feel redundant.

      Delete

  2. And the change comes slowly subtly but surely. So true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its a fact of life Alka. Bitter though !

      Delete
  3. This post me very, very sad. And then, very, very relieved that there are others out there who share the same anguish as my generation does. The part you wrote about the phones was so poignant - enough to bring a lump to the throat!
    Very well said, Ruchira. We should all probably read this post from time to time, just as a reminder of why we must keep doing what we are doing, but with a little more patience and understanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The anguish is very real Rickie. I find it very difficult to accept the changes. Yet accept it we must. And as you say keep doing what we are doing and show a little patience while we are at it !

      Delete
  4. All I can say for this one is ....................................................!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The circle of life, indeed! I remember when I had to leave my home and go away when I got married. The reality of living without my parents was just so shocking. For a mad moment, I had an instinct to run back to them and shut the world out. Four months later, I flew back home in a hurry to see my mom slipping into coma never to recover, Never saw my dad, the strongest one, so fragile. And for once, the three of us stood like shields around him trying to ease his pain in some way while we were trying to handle the unbelievable grief. It is difficult to see your parents age, and it is an unthinkable prospect to lose them one day. A little patience goes a long way. My dad is now adept at handling iPad and he can cook too :). Life circumstances change; they adjust; we try to adjust too. A post that not only struck a chord but hit me once again with the poignant truth about our parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its terrible to leave your parents behind and go. It was easier for me to go out of India on work earlier, but now its getting more and more difficult ! Hugs Rachna ! It must have been a terribly tough time for you !

      Delete
    2. It was easier when I lived on my own during my MBA or while on official trips. But getting married and going away to US had a strange finality about it. Thanks and hugs back, Ruchira!

      Delete
  6. Keeping them occupied and giving them the feeling of being wanted is the best way to keep them going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true ! I think the best thing is when the parents themselves try to remain as independent and active as possible.

      Delete
  7. Circle of life it is! I have seen it with my eyes, the equation changing for my grandparents and my parents....and slowly I know someday that day is going to come where I'll experience it all....I went through so many emotions while reading this post Ruch...Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Aditi. Glad you enjoyed reading it !

      Delete
  8. Yes, and yet, this is how they might have done it in their own days. So it is okay? We're good :)

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn’t really get what you meant by "it is Okay" What is Okay?
      We are not really talking about duty and debt to parents here - we are merely talking about the ageing process and how it affects us all :P

      Delete
    2. It is okay to be afraid, of everything. It means you know the limits and have foresight too :)

      Delete
  9. Hmm! Lost both my parents before they even reached that stage and having not married I can continue to be the Peter Pan

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have not gone through this phase yet. My parents are running the home from me but I know what you mean. One day I have to take charge. Although I have done it many times before when I lived alone but then I wasn't responsible of taking care of my parents there. It was different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess even if your parents are independent financially and active otherwise - you end up feeling a sense of responsibility and start worrying about them - Though they hate it when you do that !

      Delete
  12. Well, I had to delete my comment as I realized I got too much carried away and wrote my heart out about parents which was not required here :-D
    When I re-read your post, I understood what you meant.
    To be frank with you I got detached very early from my parents psychologically and monetarily. My parents recognized this in me quite late though, but they did in the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monetary and psychological independence is good and like you I believe both parents and kids should lead their lives independently –Frankly that’s exactly what is happening in my Family!
      The idea of this post Bhavana is how parents age and how sometimes it is difficult for the kids to accept the changes that come with age!

      Delete
  13. I depended more on my parents after I got married, even more after I became a mom. I wanted more time for myself, but, I forgot that she was so accommodating. I sometimes envied the bond she shared with my daughter. This changed when she fell ill. I felt that I was not doing justice to this role reversal.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautifully written! I have been lucky that my parents are remarkably healthy and have taken care of their affairs so well, are surrounded with loving friends and relatives and trusted domestic help; otherwise, I would be consumed with guilt every day to be living so far away from them!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I thank god for this too Roshni. Although I tend to sort of mollycoddle them when they are with me, I am amazed and very thankful about how independent and self sufficient they are.

    ReplyDelete
  16. There comes a stage in your life when you reverse roles with your parents. They demand your time, sulk, get teary eyed just like a child.

    A lovely post, Ruchira.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its rather amusing to see them sulk :P

      Delete
  17. wow, you have written beautifully something I (for that matter my husband and my brother) are goin thru with in laws and my mum!!!

    as my hubby sometimes half jokingly half frustratingly says - inn buddho ko samjhana kitna mushkil hai!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very very well written. You have put forth a truth of life in a beautiful manner. This is my first time here and I really love your writing. Glad to found your blog. Will be regular here for sure!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This one brought a lump in my throat. Even though we don't live with our parents, I do understand what you are saying here. The times when we visit and we see how they are struggling to get the house running and dealing with all the newness the world has to offer...the gadgets, the TV shows, the modernity around, the fakeness...all that! And then when they just want you sit down and ask you "kaise ho?" just breaks me down, because that's the answer we always seek from them...gosh, this is tough...to see them try to deal with so much at this age and not ask for much...and you out here think that since they have being doing the "dealing thing" all their lives they would continue doing so...I feel like we as children have failed them...but such is life.

    As you say, we must continue doing what is needed for them and accept these changes as they come, with patience.

    Thanks for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Very nicely written and so true. Everytime I visit Kolkata and see my parents..I'm torn to see them. I want to desperately hold on to what they were earlier... Strong in body and young. Yes, it is the circle of life. Sad. But true.

    ReplyDelete

 

Nirjharini Copyright © 2011 - |- Template created by O Pregador - |- Powered by Blogger Templates