Over the past three months, I’ve been learning an important life lesson: roles can switch very quickly. I wasn’t prepared to learn this lesson so young. It’s easy to think that parents and grandparents will live until we are old. There comes a time when the parent becomes the child and vice versa.
All my life, my dad and my grandma have been symbols of strength. They can always be depended upon to be there for you, to lend you a hand, to meet your needs. When I would visit my grandma, she and I would take walks, especially in Colorado where the view was so gorgeous. She made the most wonderful egg sandwiches. And she took care of my grandpa for many, many years. She was…she is…an incredible servant of others.
Dad has also been a pillar of strength. He calls himself a “mule.” He works hard, sometimes too hard but you can call on him to do anything. He’ll build you just about anything, fix what’s broken ad keep life running. He listens when I ramble, hugs me when I cry and gives me the most incredible advice (I often write down his wisdom to remember later). I know he’s there for me no matter what. He would move mountains for me, if needed. He loves me. I’ve always relied on him and turned to him in times of trouble. He rarely (i.e. never) asks for help in return. You’d almost think he didn’t need it. But he does. Especially now. Living with my parents for the past few weeks has turned my mind upside down.
I suppose the mental gymnastics began at my grandma’s house. She was glad to have my company but not so keen on having my help. She’s fiercely independent and accustomed to being the caregiver rather than on the receiving end. I not only had to lend a hand, I had to bestow it on a fairly unwilling recipient. My problems, stress and frustrations had to be set aside to deal with another’s needs. I felt needy and completely inadequate to care for someone else, especially someone that I naturally looked to to give me what I needed. It threw me for loop and I began to feel a sort of mental and emotional weariness set in.
Now, a side note: I wouldn’t trade those months with my grandma for ANYTHING!!!, even a job! I love my grandma. I cherish the talks that we had, the laughter (& tears) that we shared and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. What I’m feeling now is probably best termed “growing pains”.
Coming to my parent’s house for Christmas, I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered. My dad was in pain. He can’t do what he normally does and he still takes on more than he should. He needs help, more than he requests or even accepts. My mom is not physically up to doing his camp responsibilities, so I attemp to fill in. And it’s been quite overwhelming. I’m feeling mentally and emotionally drained. I find myself beggin God for strength to persevere, for a good attitude and a servant’s heart. Bust mostly I beg Him for Him. I desperately need Him. When I rely on myself (as I do so often), I become overwhelmed, drained and frustrated. And it hurts my relationship with my parents because it affects them. And it’s selfish. Sure, it’s a big adjustment, more responsibility, but I can do it. God brought me here for a reason. He is the strength that I need. His grace is sufficient for me. He will carry me through the stress, the shift in mindset and the jumble of emotion.
It’s a strange day when the parent becomes the child and the child is the parent. But it all comes down to the growing pains of life. And I wouldn’t opt out, even if I could.