Monday, May 2, 2016

Being the Oldest Generation ~ #MondayBlogs

Both of my parents were gone by the time I was 25 and both of my in-laws by the time I was 27. All four were present at our wedding 40 years ago. Hubby and I miss them all but we were lucky to have very rewarding, rich and close friendships with each. I do feel bad for my children who never knew their grandparents (although our daughter was 14-months old when her paternal grandmother passed). A lot of time has been spent while we tell our offspring stories about their grandparents so that they should “know” them a bit.

Uncles and Aunts have also passed early-ish, on both sides, leaving us, our siblings and our cousins among the elders in the family. It’s a mind-blowing thought to know you are a part of the oldest generation in your family. There is an implied responsibility to carry the traditions forward, tell everyone stories so that none of your elders ever die a “second death” (EVERYONE suffers a physical death at some point, it is when you are no longer remembered that you die a second time), and to try to be the older, wiser sage without actually acting or feeling OLD.

I am finally old enough to officially apply and collect a (reduced) Social Security check, although I have no plans to file for quite a while — but I find this to be a form of accomplishment as hubby and I have both outlived all of our parents, none of whom were ever old enough, so I actually like to brag about my age. BUUUUT for some reason I remember my parents as being quite a bit OLDER than I feel and somehow I imagine our kids think of us as being just as old.

When I read stories about X-number of generations in one photograph, I admit feeling a tinge of envy. And when I hear about the elderly sitting by themselves waiting endlessly for at least a phone call from their children, I get a bit angry. If you are blessed to still have your parents (and/or grandparents) around, think of how lucky you really are. It would have been nice to have my mom, or my mother-in-law, around for some parenting advice as my kids “tested me”. It would have been great to see my children bounced on their grandfathers’ knees.

As I’ve gotten older my children don’t need me IN THE SAME WAY THEY DID when they were very young. They are self-sufficient and capable young adults. It’s nice to be around to watch them make lives and contribute to this world, and if I am lucky I will get more time to be here with them. I hope that I will never become the kind of parent that they will get annoyed with. If they come out on the other end thinking of me with half as much love and fondness as I had for my parents, then I certainly will be pretty lucky to know that kind of love.

But don’t cry for me, I’m not. You see one of the things my parents taught me was to make every day count, to always say I love you and never to miss an opportunity to be together. And we did. We lived a lot in the 23 and 25 years I had them on this physical earth. I still believe that they hear me, and sometimes find a way to answer me (simply because of how close we always were), when I need to “chat”. Don’t wait for tomorrow, today is here.

Tomorrow is not promised and
the past cannot be changed
 therefore live each day to the fullest and
know that every new day is a blessing.

Nishan Panwar

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