Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Son Becomes the Father...

I'm not sure if any of you have ever experienced this, but if you'd be willing to share your stories, I'd be interested in reading'em.

I sometimes think about what it must be like to reach or pass your parents' age(s). A big part of how many of us define parenthood is by the age difference and wisdom we assumed had accumulated during that time.

So, what happens when we not only lose a parent, but eventually reach that parent's age?

Do you feel that you know them better or maybe understand them a bit more, now that your shoes are just as big as theirs?

Does a son find his father in every mirror? Does he begin to think of his father as a young'un compared to himself - almost as a little brother?

How does a daughter greet the persistent image of a long-lost matriarch? How does affect her impression of her own adulthood - or womanhood?

I'll always remember my father telling me, as a child, that I'd understand stuff when I got older - even if I already understood, at that very moment. I bookend that memory with the more recent recollection of him admitting to the grown-up me that my opinion would never be worth much because it would always be based on fewer years of experience than his own.

It makes me wonder if, a couple decades after he dies and I'm older than he ever was,... I wonder if he'll respect me, then, from six feet underground.

EDIT: This post isn't really about me. I just thought about a relevant element of my life before I finished typing. Comments about my experience are welcome, but comments about the issue of reaching our parents' ages are enthusiastically encouraged.



Liz Dwyer said...

I'm sure that comment must have really hurt you. I'm so sorry he is unable to see you for the generous and intelligent soul you truly are. It sounds like he was trying to get underneath your skin because everybody knows it's not the number of years experience that makes the man. Years can be spent on negativity, anger, resentment and jealousy, on the immature and lower natures of our selves. If that's all someone has at the end of their life, well, then they have nothing.

Angie said...

When I was young (teens)I thought my parents were so stupid -especially my mother. I thought I could have made better life choices than her, even as a teenager. I also thought 40 was old!

Now that I've reached the age that my mother was when I so harshly judged her, I know it's not that simple. Life choices aren't simple, and she did the best she could do at that time.

I turned 40 in February and let me tell you, forty is not old !!!!!!!! : )

Anonymous said...

I haven't lost a parent just yet, but I ALWAYS think about what my Mom was doing at my age. By now, she'd have a 2 yr old kid (the cutest kid, ever, might I add) and I can't even FATHOM children at this point in time.

If I were my Nana, I'd be gettin married next year to a man 3 yrs my junior. Oh boy!

Its so weird to think about how young they were and doing all of these things that I have YET to even break ground on. And its only now that I understand my Mom more, and we have a MUCH better relationship because of it.

It doesn't so much make an impression on my womanhood, but it shows me how they were much stronger and more capable than I gave them credit for (as a kid), and I give them much more props than I did before because I can't imagine dealing with half the stuff they did at my age now.

You go Mommy and Nana!