Another old writing-new post!
You know how difficult it is adjusting to having kids, being the disciplinarian, consistently and constantly doing the right thing for them?
You know how it feels when you go to work and you feel so proud that you know more than someone else or that secretly you think you could do a much better job? Not out of pride in an ugly way, but there are times when you just want to show that person a much more efficient way… a quicker way… a better way for others to work together as a team. You want them to look up to you and to appreciate the help, but once you give it they only resent you and look at you like, “What do you know?” Or next time you keep your mouth shut tightly only to realize you should have said something to help!
You know how tough it is to face life as an adult with all kinds of responsibilities and you just long for the days when you could be carefree and footloose? When you realize what a huge responsibility it is to train your children in the way they need to go when you don’t know how to get there half the time yourself.
Well, that never changes as one gets older. Certainly situations change but being a grandparent and parental figure of adult children with their own children is just as difficult!
We think we can be consistently and constantly doing what’s right by babies and little children because to us that’s a piece of cake! That’s the easy part! We’ve been there-done that and learned many lessons throughout our kid’s lives! Just think about it…our oldest children are in their 30’s. Thirty years of experience. Our youngest (my youngest) is 24. That’s a pretty large span of years to gather information and life experience to put it into practice. We were once where you are right now and sometimes we get a little cocky or feel inclined to give advice because we see our kids struggle. Forgive us. Let me say “I am sorry” for the times I come across as know-it-all or overbearing.
Change all that around to having adult kids and being the parental figure to kids who are living their own lives, working their own jobs, being wonderful parents to their own kids. Where is our place? Certainly not as a disciplinarian. Certainly not as a trainer in housekeeping. Certainly not in how to shop, what to fix for dinner, how to dress, etc.,,.! (Even though we might make a sarcastic remark about your clothes now and again!) So where do we step in? When do we give advice? Forgive us. Let me say “I am sorry” for the times where we stepped in and we weren’t supposed to. When we said something when we should have stood by and watched while you did a perfectly good job all by yourself! When you needed to try out your own experiment and we said, “That won’t work.” We haven’t traveled this way before. This era is still pretty new to us and we are learning and gathering experience as we go.
And jobs? So many times we secretly think we could do a much better job and many times we try to tell you how it is easier, more efficient, better for everyone involved when you do it “this way” because it’s been many years that we have been performing these kinds of things! Some days we say something and we shouldn’t have and some days we should have said something and we failed to. Forgive us for that. Let me say “I am sorry” for the times I didn’t know when to give a helpful piece of advice and when to remain silent. You are not someone who I can leave at work and forget about the next day! You are my life, and will always be in my life. You are not a person to whom I can just say “Well, let someone else deal with that!”
Please walk a little while in our shoes and as we are in this place called “middle age”, please try to understand that we look at you, our kids, our kid’s spouses and are so very proud. Forgive us for not saying it more often, but we really are! You are doing a great job. Even your struggles and your dilemmas are winning a crown for you for one day the struggle will surely pay off much like how a weight lifter gains his muscles. Our muscles are weaker now. They used to be there, but lack of use does not erase the memories of how we used to do it and it is difficult to know when it comes across as “bragging” about how we used to do it and when it is merely “sharing” our experiences with you. Our shoes are comfortable now for us as we have been walking in them for a long time but they do feel kind of awkward on you, we know!
Then we look ahead and see our parents and understand a little more plainly how they feel, and why they said what they did. We comprehend a little better and see a little more clearly now that we are standing in this middle ground place. But there is still fog up ahead as well. We realize that they have gone ahead of us and experienced even more than we. Now they have great grandchildren and the task gets even more difficult to know where the lines are drawn. They have more than their children’s children… their grandchildren have children…. My, my, my! Now not only do they want to buy things that they see their grandchildren would like, but they see things their great grandchildren would delight in! It stretches the pocketbook even further as they realize that they can’t buy for one, unless they buy for all and where does it stop? After all, they are at the top of the family tree! All the limbs are down below now for them. We’re all looking up at them and we’re all expecting them to be perfectly fine with it and to know exactly what to do!
To our precious parents who listen to us with compassion and with understanding as we detail the dilemma’s of middle age and all the while they are thinking, “Don’t you remember when you did that? Don’t you remember I felt that way with you when you were that age?” And they have the wisdom to not say “I told you so” or to remind us of our own failures and stumbling but just to nod and say “I know… it will get better” and wipe the tears away when we aren’t looking, longing to be in our shoes again. Forgive us for that. Let me say “I’m sorry” when I fail to remember that I acted the same way, I did the same things and that I am explaining something to you that needs no explanation for you have already walked in my shoes.
So as we come across as “know-it-all’s” please realize that it’s not because we feel we do, it’s just that we know less and less how to be. More experience, more knowledge, more know-how when it comes to performing tasks, but no less daunting in the face of being the parent to our children who are adults and so much less at being children to our parents who are great grandparent
To our parents at the top of the tree, (or who have gone on to meet their reward) and to the lower branches and sub branches who are our children, their wonderful spouses and our children’s children….: Forgive us. Let me say “I’m sorry” and most of all, let me say “I love you” and “I’m proud of you.” Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding. Most of all, thank you for being you!