The Ancient Greek tragedians and later Freud had this thing about parents, especially the mother. She may be the fountainhead of your life, but she may also be the source of your neuroses. As for the father, well, his plague upon you is usually one of two calamities. Either he’s an absent father; or the reverse, he suffocates you with his expectations.
But to our question: When is the last time you looked at your parents?
Really, really looked. Not simply at their imagined vices and virtues, but at their faces and hands and posture. It is not a crime of the law for the child to take such matters for granted, but it is a crime of the heart. Because, you see, the worst harm you can do them is take them for granted. Especially as they age, and your time with them slips away like the sand through your fingers.
Saints or sinners, they are aging before your busy eyes. True, it’s not your job to nurture them — that was their job — but it is your chance to start seeing them as more than those two people you can call any hour of the night.
The Pew Institute reports that nearly 40% of the population is now caring for an aging parent, up from 30% just three years ago. Something’s happening here. Medical science is keeping more aging parents alive longer, and more children are responding. Some lovingly…some grudgingly…some worriedly.
Whatever the emotion, the reality is this. We get only one set of parents per life. If they are still here, we get only one chance to say thanks for that life. How…? With our time. When…? Starting now.
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