Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming of Age


Money is a funny thing, it seems the quicker it comes, the quicker it is spent. I grew up in a very middle-class household and I often watched my parents struggle to pay the rent. I'm sure that if it was not for my mom's uncompromising work ethic, we could have easily fallen behind the fence of poverty margins. I am not going to be dishonest; I saw many tears and fears from my mom over the years. Often I heard arguments around how she solely was going to support the family when my dad became a victim of mental illness on one hand, but also selfishly decided to stop being a productive member of society and providing for his family. For many years I resented him, he was cruel and watched her work so hard with little regard besides a grumble of what was for dinner when she got home. Not forgetting the abuse of tongue that spat at her more often than not from his venom.

Last week my mom retired. I don't know how this makes me feel- it is so complicated. On one hand I'm so happy that she finally gets to relax after years of being the glue that kept our family afloat. She especially kept and continues to keep my dad cared for even in his most abusive periods of self and others. Beyond this sentiment I also feel fear, as the constant reminder falls with the coming of her retirement of aging and ailment in the form of a bad knee she's developed after being on her feet for 8 hours a day for the past 20 plus years.

At work I get calls from her already saying that she is bored and that she worries of spoiling and becoming old now that she's retired. She refuses to become still and pushes herself to even take small walks daily.

This is the first time I have heard her express complete fear of aging. I can't help but have my stomach sink a little and my eyes fill with tears. For all the years of worrying she did about me, about us, I now worry about her. I wish to protect her like I always have, but now I also want to be a rock for her like she was and continues to be for me each day.

I urge you not to take your parents for granted, to help them in any way you can. Any small gesture counts from a phone call to sending them some cash if they are in need.

I know I won't forget my moms care and to care for her today, tomorrow and the next day. She more than deserves it.
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