Sunday, July 12, 2015
every day is Freaky Friday, role reversals in the parent child relationship
There comes a time in life, when the parent - child relationship gets reversed somewhat, the extent of this depends on so many variables, but to a degree I'm sure you have experienced or witnessed grown adults who become protective of their parents - worrying about safety, worrying about health, advising, even "laying down the law".
My parents seem so innocent and gullible to me now. I have to tell them the people who ring them and say "I'm from Microsoft, please turn on your computer and login we've detected a massive threat to your computer" are lying scumbags from hell, and that its absolutely okay to yell at them "you are a fucking criminal ass wipe" and then hang up.
I have to practically tie my father to a chair to stop him from doing jobs he should not be doing, and that he promised me many times he will no longer do. After every heart valve replacement, and every code blue, broken hip, and hernia I have held him in front of me and looked deeply into his eyes and said "you cannot do any more hard work, you cannot chop firewood anymore or saw logs, or dig the edge of the garden beds to keep the front lawn from invading" and he has looked me in the eye and said "oh no, I won't do that anymore" and he has broken that promise one thousand times (or more)
Now I'm the one making sure Dad doesn't leave his jacket, walking stick, or cushion on the train.
I'm the one who checks the house is locked at night, or finds the keys when he's lost them, or thaws the 2 litres of soup out after someone has accidentally put it in the freezer instead of the fridge.
But this is the tip of the iceberg, these are the issues everyone talks about, but there's so much more, and I'm your girl, I'm the one who is prepared to say there are other ways that the relationship is reversed with age.
Because your parents are most likely the people who taught you the most about certain things. Like hygeine, and manners, and how to behave in public, and you've finally mastered all these things, and now they are unmastering them before your very eyes!
The woman who taught me not to pick my nose is the woman I walk in to find in up to her elbows while watching television, and I have caught my father using the car immobiliser lock to pick ear wax out of his ear, at the dinner table.
This is Freaky Friday, Twilight Zone, weirdness. Laughter is just about the only option. The others are nausea, outrage, and wondering how the hell your life turned out this way.
It is so weird to find out your parent's social skills include tantrums that the most devilish two year old would be proud to call their own, as well as the occasional bout of silent treatment, passive aggression, and deliberate property destruction.
Not to mention the faux pas. Oh my God, you will overhear so many terrible, terrible things.
Listening to my father on the telephone is like Verbal Waterboarding. He could patent it. I am absolutely beside myself at times, but now I really try to find something to do well out of earshot as a measure of self preservation.
And if you are considering being any part of your parent's lives as they become elderly, you will need to find ways to cope as well. My recommendation is to become inured to it - let it be like water off a duck's back, accept it for what it is.... and treasure the lighter moments because they become precious memories.