Thursday, June 23, 2011

Together in the Tide Pool

The phone rang this morning at 7:30. It was C, the next-to-oldest of my best friends in the world. We met in eighth grade and survived geometry and music contests and bad haircuts together, then went to the same university before she moved to Alaska and I left for the Peace Corps.

We each married guys who were perfect for each of us, and had only Boys (she had one, I had four), and even when there were years between our visits our conversations always started, "As I was saying..." It was as if we were sea creatures sharing the same tide pool, and whether the tides were going in or coming out, we splashed around together in our shallow spot of the vast ocean. 

Today I worried when I heard her voice so early.

"Is everything okay?"

"No, things are in kind of a mess."

I knew almost without explanation what she was facing: Like so many of us baby boomers, C is helping her aging parents transition into the next life stage. This process is poignantly reminiscent to when we were responsible for the well-being of our young children. This time, though, C can't proceed with the authority of a parent helping a child decide whether to wear a green shirt or a red shirt, or which college to attend. Those were training moments; these are winding-down moments, made with loved ones whose option-weighing capabilities are withering rather than expanding. This situation requires sympathy, and respect for dignity, and the honor we choose to give our parents, even as we must make decisions they wouldn't necessarily choose as we deal with life complications they hoped to never face.

Being a parent to a child is sometimes achingly difficult, but no more difficult than being parent to a parent.

So in my heart all day has been a prayer that C is holding up with stamina and grace, and that the choices she is being forced to make for her parents are not breaking their hearts, or hers, because we all are swimming in this pool as the tide goes out.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said, Sara. So true,,,and it happens in the blink of an eye. Where have all the years gone,,,so quickly. csl