When I was doing the parenting thing, I was often flying by the seat of my pants. Whoever thought up that phrase and what does it mean exactly? I couldn’t just let that one go by without a little research. In the early days of aviation there weren’t many visible aids to help one fly other than the pilot’s own vision. He was actually setting a course without any guidebook or manual. I guess that says it all, when it comes to parenting. We can read and study all about the art of parenting before becoming one, but nothing is better than real life experience to wake up the sleeping parent in anyone. The parenting role never changes. Once you become one, you are one for life.
As your children grow and start new lives on their own, they may be gone, but certainly not forgotten. Their safety, their freedom from problems and worry, their joys and sorrows still remain a part of you. Sometimes, as we age, we become more of a part of them than they wish us to be. Both of our moms came back into our lives when they needed a place to live and be cared for, but weren’t quite ready for a nursing home.
It’s not easy to become your parent’s parent. For one thing, it’s like raising another child and the parent you remembered when you were growing up, is no longer the same. Now you’re doing the reprimanding; the encouraging; the guiding. Instead of them giving you advice or counsel, you’re the one doling out those things. Most of us want to watch their parents grow old gracefully and without a sense of responsibility. We want them to stay active – to enjoy their remaining years – to live life to the fullest. Life tends to get in the way and even good intentions get in the way.
We can easily play the “AGE” card and lay all kinds of guilt on our children, but they truly don’t owe us a thing. If we have done the parenting thing as we should, we should be grateful they turned out as good as they did with only a couple decades of our influence. I’m not saying we should abandon our parents when they grow old. God is very specific about the role they play in our lives.
Personally I want to be remembered for the fun times during those formative years. There was a time when I drove my kids through the drive-thru at McDonald’s with a fake nose and glasses, just to get a reaction from the cashier. Just recently I went through the drive-thru with my granddaughter – made the payment at one window and drove off without getting her food. (We didn’t get too far away before I was hysterically reminded.) Which of those two events do you think will be remembered?
We can make life miserable for our kids or remind them that we are fallible and we make mistakes, but we can also share our love for God and give them a lifetime filled with One who will be with them though out eternity.