“Why can’t you fly now, mother?”
“Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.”
“Why do they forget the way?”
“Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”
― “Peter Pan” J.M. Barrie
For those of us fortunate enough to still have a parent with us when we hit middle age, aging parents can be one of the most special and challenging relationships we have as adults. There’s something fascinating and unsettling about watching your parents grow old.
During my mother’s last week with us, I remember a persistent feeling of unreality. I think some part of me reverted to childhood. I kept waiting for her to jump up and be herself again. I kept thinking “But I’m only a kid. I can’t do any of this without her.” But of course I wasn’t a kid. And I did what I had to do. And so did she.
But this whole experience showed me something I’ll never forget about the almost supernatural connection between elderly parents and grown children. There’s a bond there, an understanding that doesn’t happen until we’re older. And I’m very grateful to Mom for showing it to me.
So today’s post is a valentine to my mom. It’s also dedicated to all of us so-called adults and the aging parents who made us who we are and who now need us a little more than we may want to admit.