I recall reading or hearing the phrase, ‘once a man, twice a child’ a few times but never truly understood what it meant, until I began to see the adults around me age.
Once a man, twice a child means exactly that. We are born dependent upon our care givers, using walkers and aides to help us get around; we then become adults. Self sufficient, taking care of ourselves and families. Then we grow in age and become reliant upon someone to take care of us; using walkers, needing assistance with feeding and some wearing diapers.
Once a man, twice a child.
Recently my mom came up to NY for a visit and I could physically see the changes that time has had on her. My once vibrant, fast paced, do everything SUPER MOM is now moving slow, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, just sitting. She’s not sick, she has all her mental functions, she’s just slowing down.
It’s hard to watch.
As we get older, so do our parents and the roles begin to reverse. A good friend of mine is an only child and recently relocated back home to care for her aging mom. It’s the least we can do right? They took care of us all of our lives now it’s time to return the ‘favor’ so to speak. However, nobody fully warns us what that looks and feels like. What does it look like to be your mom’s care giver, when she reminds you that she is still the mother. How does it feel to be told you don’t know what you are doing, although you are doing exactly what they did when you were a sick child. How do you fully adapt to the role reversal?
It’s not easy.
A few months ago my mom who lives out of town got really sick. She didn’t sound like herself over the phone and I was at wits end, when it hit me that I have an aging parent. She now needs someone to be vigilant about her meds, her doctors appointments etc. It is at this point where all children have to pitch in a do their part. Thankfully my sisters were able to step in where I couldn’t. That’s not that case for many who are only children. My thoughts and prayers go out to every one who is coping with an aging parent. Be encouraged. Breathe deep and know that you are doing what you are supposed to do to help care for your loved one. Here are a few links that might help you along the journey.