Do these words sound familiar? Are they words you say or have said to your children to keep them safe? Well, these are words that I say to my mother to keep her safe!
It’s funny, because when I’m with her, she holds onto me as we walk, I help her in and out of the car, I make sure she sees the curb so she doesn’t trip, I hold doors for her to walk through, and I insist she call me when she gets upstairs to her apartment after I drop her off. Yet, even at almost 89, she’s very independent when I’m not with her. She still drives, goes to the gym daily to “work out,” takes herself to doctors, to the grocery store, to get her hair done. And she does all of those things without my help, but it all changes when we’re together. I’ve become the mother!
How ironic, huh? How many times over the years have I had to remind her that I’m an adult fully capable of taking care of myself when she said (and still says) similar things to me? How many times have I said, when asked to call her when I got home from being with her “but, mom, I come home by myself late at night all the time.” She’s quick to respond, “But then I don’t know about it!” And here I am doing the exact same thing…to my own mother.
That’s what happens, though. We come into this world helpless and needing someone to take care of us and as we age we go back to that same state. It’s only natural then that the roles reverse and we become the parents to our parents.
Sometimes it even gives us a mutual chuckle when we both suddenly realize at the same time that I’ve just said something to my mother that she would normally say to me. Good to keep a sense of humor about it all.
But I guess we’ll really know the roles have truly reversed when I utter those famous motherly words, “because I said so, that’s why!” We’ll see how my mom responds to that one!