It’s horrible that you have to become a full-fledged adult before you learn how to be truly mindful and considerate of your parents. And I don’t mean being respectful, or saying please and thank you, I mean just what I said: mindful. Remembering to ask them how they’re feeling today? Heck, remembering to ask them how their day was period!
When you’re a teenager/young adult - I think you’re just brain-dead. Or maybe you’re just the most selfish you will ever be in your life. But either way, you’re oblivious to anything that has anything to do with something/someone other than yourself.
I can distinctly remember my mother having neck surgery when I was still living at home. And you know, back then, surgeries were not as sophisticated as they are now, and the recovery times were much longer. It shames me to say, that I can remember coming home from school, seeing her lying on the couch, day after day, and as I came in the door I would speak, and walk right on by. Never asking did she need me to get her anything, never asking how she felt, nothing – I asked her nothing.
And I’ll tell you why I even think of these things – it’s because I now have children of my own that are so wrapped up in their lives, I am treated the same way and so is my husband. And it’s not that we expect to be waited-on or doted-on, but gracious alive, being noticed would be nice.
It makes me cringe with shame when I realize, they are me. And that the only thing that gets noticed is that supper is not cooked and the clothes basket has piled-up.
Even worse, I don’t know that I was much better in my twenties and thirties – that I was any more caring or thoughtful. I guess I could blame it on the fact that I was raising my own children by then, had my own struggles, my own worries. But is that really accurate? I mean, somehow, my parents always still managed to call me and check on me and my kids. And I’d like to say I asked about them, and inquired about what was new with them, but I really can’t remember if I was that gracious or not.
I guess what I’m trying to say to whoever is reading this today is this: don’t only call your parents when you need something. Call them to ask about them, how they’re feeling, what have they been doing – take the time to ask about THEM – after all, they’ve been listening to your self-involved conversations for years.
I don’t necessarily want my children to feel guilty one day – but everything has a way of coming back around when you least expect it. I cannot tell you the conversations I’ve had with my mother, mullygrubbing and feeling sorry for myself, as I simultaneously tell her how sorry I feel for having treated her the same way.
A little self-reflection goes a long way.