While You Are Growing Up, They Are Growing Old

Today I was really bummed out because it was my Mother’s 78th birthday and we couldn’t be with her even though she lives only fifteen minutes away.  With the quarantine we could only stand on her front porch singing Happy Birthday to her through the glass and then leave a cake an balloons on her porch. I am sad we couldn’t be together but I am grateful that I at least got to see her smiling face as she and my Dad stood together watching us sing through the glass…I love my parents so much…

“Love your Parents. We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old.”

Driving home tonight that quote came into my mind. It’s from a blog post I wrote six years ago in 2014 about my parents. The following is an excerpt from what I’d written:

“As a child you see your parents as these invincible adults. We see our dads as these big strong men who work hard, protect us, and just take care of things.  We see our moms as our caretakers who are always there to make sure our needs are attended to that we always know we are loved.  I don’t know about all of you but for all of my life when I looked at my parents they seemed to be frozen at the same age. All through my growing up they looked the same age to me – strong, energetic, and young – that is how they’ve always seemed to me.  Always, that is, until now. Now I see a cute little white haired mom who is fragile and breakable, and I see a gray haired father who walks a little slower than he once did. Both now in their mid 70s the realization is finally hitting me that one day down the road (and I pray that it is many more years down the road still) these two people who have been the absolute rock and foundation for my life may no longer be on this earth with me.

It’s a thought I simply cannot imagine without breaking into tears. Even as I write this I can’t stop my eyes from welling up.  I am not ready for the day to come when my parents are with me anymore.  I’m just not.  They have been my guides and my anchor my entire life. Whenever I need advice I always know I can call my Dad, and whenever I need sympathy I know I can call my Mom.  And I don’t want to imagine a day when I can no longer pick up the phone and do that or when I can knock on their door and have them there to answer it. Yet it is a reality that I need to start to remember so that I don’t allow myself to take one moment I have with them for granted.

I need to make more time to spend with my parents. I need to make it a priority to spend quality time with them.  I need to make sure I get their advice now on the things I should know for the future so I don’t waste my chance to get it while they are still both here with me.  I need to ask them to tell me more stories about their own life and all the lessons they have learned that might someday be helpful to me.  I need to make sure I let them know how much I love them and what they mean to me while they are still here to hear it in person.

Every one of you reading this blog have parents that are aging if you are still blessed enough to have them on this earth. No matter how old your parents are the reality is that any of us could lose our parents at any time. Let’s all make an effort to make more time for them, express more love for them, and make sure they feel appreciated while we still have them with us.”   (end of excerpt)

My Mother is now 78 and this Sunday my dad will turn 82.  I love them so much and I’m so grateful they are both still around.  And while it’s really hard to only get to see them through that glass front door, I’m grateful this pandemic has given me the opportunity to serve my parents more by giving me the chance to get groceries for them and drop off home cooked dinners and treats for them each week. It’s made me so happy to get to do things for them after they’ve spent their entire lives doing things for me. But without question I long for the day to come when I’ll be able to give both of them hugs again…I miss their hugs…

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

My cute Mom and Dad (parents of Amy Rees Anderson)

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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