Sometimes I hate to see my parents’ faces. Well, not really their faces but the look of gratitude on their faces when I do something for them. I want to rage against aging and Alzheimer’s and anything else that makes them feel weak and helpless. I want to cry and tell them that they are strong and valued and fill our lives with so much joy. I want to remind them how often I have relied on their collective wisdom.
How could they forget all of the times that they stayed up with me while I was sick or having an asthma attack or had procrastinated on schoolwork? I wish I could pull out the long list of things that I knew they did for me and the sacrifices they made that they never even told me about. I wish I had kept a list as a reminder to them that they owe me nothing.
So what if I’m bringing you a meal, you gave me 3 for every one I have the privilege of giving you, I cry out in my head. When I clean up a mess, I know there were many more messes that I created that you took care of. This slowing down of your life shouldn’t shame you. It’s time for you to rest on your laurels and allow me the pleasure of doing for you. I need to because day after day when you were giving of yourselves for my benefit, I know my face did not always reflect the same measure of gratitude that I see in yours. So many thank yous went unsaid.
So please don’t thank me for helping you as I’ve seen you help others, myself included. And please don’t look at me as if I’m doing something extraordinary, I’m just doing as I was taught…by you. So when I’m serving you that meal or taking you to the doctor or cleaning up that mess, it’s just my own way of saying a lifetime of thank yous that should have been said. So you see, once again this has become about me and my needs. I need to help you. I am so grateful for the privilege.