I became a mother two years ago. My whole world changed and I grew up some and grew old some. I always feel the overpowering need to protect my lil girls from the world and every tiny ant that crawls in it. I wonder and think about them all the time. And I know that I too have been this little protected child to my hope-filled parents a while back.  

A few things woke me up to this fact in the recent days that I am the Grown-Up now. Whenever I have had conversations with my sisters, it usually was about frivolous nothings and everythings. But now it is becoming more about our parents. We discuss their health, if they are eating right, if they are working too hard and everything else in between. 

When did this role reverse? 

My dad and mom did everything for me when I was a child. Infact they continued to do most of everything for me up until I started working. They watched out for me. Sometimes my dad would call me at college in India from the Middle East to tell me that the weather was turning bad and that I should cover up or that the water is drying up and that I should watch what I drink. Sometimes I got so homesick that my mom would stomp her feet and fly me home just so that she can cook me three decent meals a day. 

Now when I look at them closely, I see the years taking it's due in fine wrinkles, gray hair and a gentle stoop to their backs. Where is that dad who would run a mile holding onto my cycle, go? Where is that mom who would sit up night after night learning my lessons ahead of me, disappear? 

'Hey, er, will you get french fries here at this mall'? 
I remember asking this very same question while twisting on my dad's firm grip of my hand. But this time it is them asking of me. 

'Can we do Subway tonight?' 
Oh, the number of times I have asked for KFC or McDonald dinners but this night we are being asked. 

'Can you read what's on this label'? 
Today, my mom or dad turns to me. My parents read to me as far back as I can remember. Even today when I can't read something in my native language, I still ask my dad or mom this very same thing 'Can you read this for me'?

When did I take their place? 
When my mom helped me with lil O and lil A, my seasoned mother knew her way around a newborn and a new mother. She shepherded me through my first steps, my first missteps, my tears and my celebration as a mother. Little did I know that she was passing something on to me each time. Something that used to be hers. 

When my dad spoke to me about our household assets, I joked about my larger share as their assumed favorite child. Little did I know that boots were being hung up and work gloves were being put away. 

As I was finding my feet in the world and impatiently marking my footprints, my parents were slowing down and thanking God for watching me thus far. When I was being prodded to find the right life partner, they were fervently hoping to find that someone too, to leave their previous child with. When I made mistakes and their frustration showed, it was not disappointment but fear. Fear that noone will be there to catch me when I fall as they did. 

When my mom turns to me to ask me for advice, I thought she was testing me. Little did I know that now she is turning to me to introduce her to my world, to a world that is no longer the one she owned. 

When my dad asks me, 'How can I buy some internet'? or 'Is the World Wide Web the same thing as Internet'?, I laughed until my sides ached. He laughed too but I am sure he was secretly hoping that I tell him soon. He was trying to find a way to stay connected to me and mine. 

When my parents stand between me yelling at lil O and tell me to back off, I look to them in amazement. Did they not spank me for the same thing? Did they not yell at me or ground me for this? And as I look at them, I truly see them. I see how they look through eyes brimming with love at my children and see a little me and wishing that they could do it all over again. I see them realize that their days are perhaps numbered and they rather not see tears. Just as they dreaded to see mine. 
I see not just my parents but BK's too. Their slower steps, their mellower opinions, their softer voices and their instant agreement to our ways of life. And I wonder is the mantle being passed on? 

Are we in charge now? 

Do I have to shoo away the bogeyman and monsters in the closet by myself? 

Do I need to figure out the life's lemons and chocolates myself? 

Do I tread waters myself with noone holding my hand? 

I look around me and see that from the forefront, our parents have taken a back seat. Does that mean I am driving now and they are asking me, 'Are we there yet'?

Just before my mother left to India, she kept reminding me of something that she wanted. She kept reminding me several times that day. Finally I snapped and said, 'I know. I will get it. Don't ask me again, mom.' 

She wasn't hurt. She smiled and said, 'I know you will, I am just telling you each time I think of it.' 

But a lump formed in my throat. Because I remember when I was growing up, I would pester my dad for something and would pester my mom to remind or convince my dad for it. I would do this relentlessly. For days. And every single time, it would appear, one fine day when I least expect it. And my dad would always watch to see my expression of delight and squeals of joy. Not once would he snap. 

When did our roles reverse? I don't know how they did this for so long. 
Has the circle of life come all the way round?

I cannot bear this mantle that they seek to transfer to my care. 

I am not ready Daddy. I just am not. There are so many things I still need from you. So many things I still do not know how to do Mom. So many jars that I still cannot open. So many buttons that I still cannot sew. So many ways of the world that I do not understand. So many dishes to make. So many things still undone. So much still unsaid. 

When I see age and time drawing upto them and marking fine lines or digging its claws into their health, I want to curl into fetal position and cling to them to rock me into denying sleep. 

I am not ready to be the Grown-Up of my world. 
 


Lorraine
03/12/2013 12:58am

:'(

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03/12/2013 7:23am

O
I---
LL
(Hug)

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geetu
03/12/2013 1:09am

dis is soo touchin....I woke up n first think read dis n tears won't stop ....u have expressed sumthin each on of us have gone through or wuld go through sooner or later....I have felt da same ever since my fil passed away as nw me n R have to take decisions n tht scares me at times cz I think v r nt prepared...v r nt old enuff n tht dad knew it all...

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03/12/2013 7:24am

I am so sorry for your loss. I cried at several points while I wrote this. Now we know how much we look up to our parents.

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MSP
03/12/2013 1:20am

Oh J, I so know how you feel... When it slowly dawns on you that they are growing old and becoming frail... When things that dint really need thinking about now need effort... :( And it just saddens your soul... when you think of all those times that we dint cherish...

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03/12/2013 7:25am

Yes, that gets me everytime. My heart quickens and my mind wants to look away, to unsee that they are different from what they used to be. I can't find my peace with it.
Oh, the lost time.

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Nasreen
03/12/2013 3:04am

Jency I was crying throughout.....:(
Every word above is whts on my mind & heart each time I m alone. I think abt my parents even more than my gals now. My heart misses a beat if the phone rings late at night or early morning seeing its them who is calling...hoping all is well with them.
Once again Jency u have put all ur heart & soul in ur writing. I love it !!! Muah!!!

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03/12/2013 7:27am

Yes! When the worried-about becomes the worrier.. How did they do it?
I realized something bitter sweet - a child will never stop being their parent's child.

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minsi
03/12/2013 7:30am

It is heartbreaking to realize that there may come a time soon when they wont be here to hold our hand or just be there... I dont think any of us are ever ready for such an eventuality... God bless our parents with long life and good health and happiness...

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03/12/2013 10:40am

I am not ready for that. There is not a day that I do not have a question for them.
God Bless us all.

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Rima Patel
03/12/2013 8:45am

so beautiful...thanks for writing such amazing posts..as you capture the essence so well

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03/12/2013 10:41am

Thank you for saying that. This has been playing in my mind for the past week. You know what's been going on. And I couldn't help but think about all this.

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Shanthi
03/12/2013 10:00am

Beautiful post Jency. We truly appreciate our parents when we become parents ourselves. And I agree, we are growing up as fast as our kids.

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03/12/2013 10:43am

Thank you Shanthi. Yes, our kids and parents are changing right before our eyes. I need to stop everything and spend time with both.

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Merly
03/14/2013 3:11am

Jency, I could read this over and over again and just agree on everything you have written. I remember telling my mom when I had my first child that I could just lay at her feet and worship her for all that she's done and all that shes continuing to do. I fear everyday that we are yet not ready to be in their shoes and hold the helm for our younger siblings. Being a parent is surely an eye opener to a lot of things we took for granted:) I learn something new everyday and I am grateful that God has given us that best blessing ever! Keep writing!

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Jen
03/16/2013 12:04am

I hear you!

Very true!

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Shereen
03/21/2013 12:27pm

I could hardly read the above as i my eyes filled up with tears (and Jens, the pics are so adorable !.)
One could never be thankful enough for the sacrifices made by our parents. Often, we used to groan & grumble as kids, when we never used to get the stuff we 'demanded'. We hardly realised that they gave up so many things, just so that we kids can be happy ! I remember my dad always telling us; "You will only realise once YOU become a parent"

I only hope I could be as patient and loving like them, when its 'my turn'!

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03/21/2013 12:49pm

And to this day, they keep giving and giving.
Behind all acts of goodness, lies a whole lot more of good intentions and prayers for strength. You are already on your way!

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Amy
08/27/2014 7:13pm

So moving, my friend. Not everyone is so lucky to have that kind of love. You received it and now you will return it to them. The circle of life! :)

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Jen
08/27/2014 10:00pm

I do hope I can return it Amy! And yes, I have been lucky. Sometimes luck comes to us at different phases and stages of our lives, doesn't it?
:)
I am glad you are lucky too. I am lucky to have met you. :)

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