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.