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April 8, 2008

Role Reversal

It’s an odd feeling when as the child you know you’re parents are going away for an extended trip, where they will be less likely to communicate with you for a long period of time. It’s funny as I’ve grown up in some respects the roles have changed from parents/child to child parenting the parents.

My sisters and I have often lamented upon the fact that while our parents can’t help but parent us, we as adult children have certain expectations of our parents. When they take a long road trip, we wait for those phone calls letting us know they have arrived at certain points along the way safe and secure, when they fail to call the three of us will call each other and ask, “Have you heard from mom and dad lately?” My youngest sister, to alleviate the worry and stress, added my parents to her cell phone plan, purchased them phones with the understanding they would keep them on. I can hear you chuckling at the fact that you KNOW my parents do not leave their phones on nor will they answer them unless they are expecting our call. It’s very frustrating to say the least.

I recently called to talk to my girlfriend Dianne, and while she was not available, I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with her father. We discussed this whole phenomenon of children now parenting their parents. He said to me more than once, as I mentioned the things that parents do to us kids, such as not answering calls, not checking in, not turning on the cell phones etc, that as he put it “Its hard for us old timers to remember or even figure out these new gadgets.” We had a good laugh as he put things into perspective from the parental aspect for me.

My parents are leaving tomorrow for a three week cruise, going from Florida through the Panama Canal back to Washington with several stops along the way. After spending a week with them visiting me, my sisters and I have made sure they are well prepared for what will happen along the way. From obtaining a preloaded visa card, to making sure they have secure travel pouches for their passports, to making sure my sister Becky has documents, in the off chance someone steals their id, and so on, the parenting skills the three of us girls have learned from them over the years are all popping out.

They fly out tomorrow morning and I’ve already chided my mom for not packing already, to remember her toothbrush and make sure she has a prepaid phone card to call home.

I know they will have a wonderful time on this cruise and they will be stopping in the Los Angeles area, so I’ll have a few hour visit before they continue on, I can’t help worry about their safety. Funny how those tables have turned!

Have a wonderful day!

Kat

Filed under: Life by Kat at 3:36 pm
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