Reader Dani commented on the Rules of Life post I did a while back and pointed me to Marion Winik’s “Rules for the Unruly”.
Rule #5: be gentle with your parents.
A reminder of much worth, I think. Our parents need our gentleness and we need the full, whole feeling that we get when we give it to them.
Part of the reason I can be rough and impatient with mine: I find it difficult watching my parents get older…and slower. It coincides with life speeding up beyond what most of us can deal with. For their kids, the two paces – ours and theirs – often grate. When I see my parents I have to consciously slip into third gear. Otherwise I might just self-combust as they ask me again for directions to my house. Or bicker about who’s fault it was that mum’s glasses were left in the car.
It’s also…what’s the right word…. dispiriting (?) a reminder of our mortality (?) to see our parents become the vulnerable ones. They were always the authority. They knew shit. It’s hard to swap the roles. But the passing of the baton is really significant. I’ve been able to be far more gentle with mine since I’ve picked up the baton.
PS in the pic above Dad can’t follow the card game and does the same dumb move over and over. Or something like that.
PPS the pic below…when M and D were in their teens…D trying some dumb move on M.