As small children most of us begin by being dependent upon our parents. They are the central source of meeting our physical and emotional needs.
When we become teenagers, there is a distinct loss of memory about all that care as well as a loss of reason and respect for the care-givers. “Those idiots don’t know anything.”
As young adults we often regain a measure of our senses and realize that our parents did sacrifice a lot for us and actually do have some wisdom to offer. We mature and become parents, relying on the ones who raised us to give help, encouragement and advice. At least this was my story.
The sad part in this cycle of life is that we often don’t appreciate our parents fully until we lose them. My mom died on December 6, 2004. I didn’t have the slightest idea how much I needed her until she was gone. That is a deep regret for me, and one I can’t correct.
My father-in-law was in a serious accident on his Harley on Memorial Day, a few years ago (I know—73 and riding a Harley!). His injuries were extensive and we set a round-the-clock hospital schedule to attend to him. The first week his family “nurses” were limited to his wife, daughter and me. As we started to run out of steam, we broadened the circle to include my husband, son, daughter and daughter-in-law.
As each of us spent hours in the quiet room helping him sit up, holding a cup for him to drink from or reading to him, we got a glimpse of his mortality. This strong, vital man is human and will not be with us on earth forever. I don’t know why it seemed so shocking, but it was a true wake-up call.
We need him. We need to spend time with him and soak up his wisdom, encouragement and even dry wit. It won’t be available to us forever. None of our parents will be. They know we love and need them, but sometimes we don’t know just how much until it’s too late to take advantage of all they have to offer and to tell them. Are you overdue for a visit? I’m sure your dad would rather have a few hours of meaningful conversation than a dumb present. Happy Father’s Day.