As a child, we look up to our parents (well, for the most part, unless our parents are abusive assholes). We depend upon them to teach us, nurture us, take care of us, and to prepare us to be independent individuals.
Then we grow up. We get older. And so do our parents.
For many people, there comes a time when the child becomes the caretaker. The child becomes the one that helps the parent, financially, and otherwise.
I think for many people, we always know that this time can come, and will come. But we do not know when it will come. And we are never really prepared for when it arrives.
The last couple of months in my life have witnessed this turning point with one of may parents. I have been the one that has been prepared to take care of things. And I have been prepared to help out financially. And I have. And I will freely admit that my brother has as well. I do not want to sound like a martyr, shouldering a responsibility alone.
I was not prepared for this in my 33rd year, in fact, I was thinking this probably wouldn't happen until I was in my mid-forties. But, this moment has arrived, and there is nothing I can do to change that.
But, then I put myself in my parent's shoes. It must be incredibly difficult to ask a child for assistance. It must in some sense wound their pride, and that is not lost on me. It must be frustrating as hell to live a full and independent life and then without warning come to a point where one must ask for such help.
And it isn't that I am saddened by the fact that this moment has arrived. What is saddening is what happens once this moment arrives, and that is the realization that both of my parents have passed the half-way points in their lives. And while it is still probably years away, the end will indeed come sooner rather than later.