Molasses

Angelina Jolie's mother passed away this weekend, and it made me think about how overwhelmingly scary it would be to lose a parent.

Recently, my mother's parents passed away. She said that one of the things she is contending with after their death is the realization that she is the next generation. She is the oldest generation of our family. When she said this my adrenaline started pumping out of fear, and then positively jumped at her next statement. "Well if I live as long as my father, who was 95 when he died, I have at least 35 more years and that's a long time." No, no it's not a long time. It's not nearly enough time. I'm 35 now and it went by in the blink of an eye.

I spent so much of my youth wishing to be older and now I find myself wanting to thicken time. To make it run slow as molasses. I was watching son sleep the other night and knew this was a moment I would be recalling in the nursing home someday. His smooth skin and the way he reached for me even in his sleep. I didn't want to shut my eyes for fear that I would wake up and he would be suddenly grown. Tonight, he asked how old he would be when he got married. I suggested 30 and then realized it was possible my parents might not be there to see it.

I don't think I started to fully understand my parents until I became a mother. Suddenly, all those "mistakes" they made seemed more palatable. Parenting by nature make us crazy as our wee hearts are suddenly walking around outside our bodies. I think that whenever anyone begins therapy the psychologist should say, "I'm sorry but we are going to need to hold off on discussing your parents until you've had a child." Though the things they have done, or not done, may still reside bitter in my heart there is an empathy I didn't have before my children were born that softens my perspective. And in loving my children I feel how my parents have loved my sister and I. As I grow older it feels less important to validate my perspective of my childhood. It was as it was, but now there is still time for us to be together. Time that will be moving much too quickly.

18 comments:

Mrs. Chicken said...

Losing my dad to cancer is the hardest thing I've ever had to endure. It is almost three years now, and the pain is a sharp as it was the day I held his hand while he left this world. It makes you keenly aware of the mortality of all those you love. There is no going back once you have that knowledge.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Losing a parent is the worst thing that could ever happen. No matter how old you are. I was 17. I'm still not over it. Never will be.

Enjoy them. They are yours forever.

Gretchen said...

Beautiful post.

PamKittyMorning said...

Very sweet post.

Lotta said...

Mrs. Chicken - Though I do believe that the ones that have left us are still here in spirit I can imagine that the pain is still unbearable at times.

Janet - Thank you for sharing that.

Gretchen & Pam - Thanks ladies.

Oh, The Joys said...

This one is universal, Lotta. It resonates with us all.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Great post. Losing a parent is the worst thing... no matter what your age. My mom was 63, I was 36. I'm 38 and not over it yet. I'm glad you appreciate and enjoy your parents. I'm glad your Mom had her Mom for a really long time.... The bright side? Genetics are on your side!

Esmerelda said...

I couldn't imagine losing a parent, but watching it happen to my oldest friend yesterday gave me just a taste. No time like the present to tell people you love them.

MamaLee said...

Hi there - first time reader here. I lost my Dad quickly to leukemia almost 8 years ago. It's true, the pain is sharp and always will be. Death is something that we all have to deal with - no one can escape it. All we can do is love as if today is our last day.

mark said...

Really nice post, Lotta. Though I'm not a parent, it rings true. I like it.

Paige said...

Some of our friends are starting to lose their parents and it terrifies me. I can't even imagine what it must be like...

And yes you're right: Parenthood does have a way of changing whatever perspective you've had on your folks.

soccer mom in denial said...

Wow. This was wonderful. "Run slow as molassess".

Becoming a parent has actually made me a better daughter-in-law. My poor MIL essentially raised 3 boys alone. My two make me nuts. I'm surprised hers all made it to adulthood (my husband particularly!!).

Red Rollerskate said...

I think about this stuff all the time. My parents had me later in life (early 40's), so my mom was always trying to prepare me, as a kid, for the fact that they might die, like, soon. They are still alive and well, but there was a lot of death talk when I was a kid.

It bugs me when my mom says things like, "I figure I have 10/20/30 (or whatever) years to go..." Like, at what point do we start counting down to the end?

jakelliesmom said...

Beautifully written. I felt I understood our parents so much differently when I became a mother; I felt an overwhelming urge to kiss my son's little head a hundred times a day, and realized that our parents probably still feel that way, they just have to hold it back.

Katie J said...

Wonderfully stated Lotta.

Lotta said...

Thanks all.

yerdoingitwrong said...

I found myself crying when I finished reading this post. I'm a big hormonal baby right now anyway b/c I just had my first child. But, I also recently had a VERY similar conversation with my mom and it struck me the same way!! Very well written, girl!

Mamma said...

Oh Lotta!! What a wonderful post! I was worrying this week about how much time I have left and what I still want to accomplish. There just doesn't seem to be enough time--unless you're nine-months pregnant with hemorrhoids and ready to GIVE BIRTH!!

How lucky you are to have your grandparents for so long.