Thursday, December 03, 2009

Role Reversal

At some point, we all turn into our parents. I knew that would happen with regards to me having children. I had no idea that we would also turn into our parents and end up 'parenting' our parents and doing things for them that they did for us as children.

My mother turns 70 next Monday. In honour of that, my siblings and I are throwing her a big bash on Sunday. This has entailed us finding a suitable venue, looking up my mother's friends surreptitiously in her phone book, ringing them and organising them to show up. This has also entailed us sending out invitations, ordering cake, speaking to the banqueting staff a million times a day to ensure that everything is as planned.

We've also had to plan party entertainment. Videos, songs, all we're short of are party games.

Now that's where the difference lies. Party games for my mother's guests might entail some broken hips. We've also had to arrange for wheelchair access and permission for nurses to escort some of the guests. That's something our parents didn't really need to take into consideration when they were planning our parties. I spent a better part of last night in correspondence with the banquet manager and my cousin trying to map out the easiest way we could get my uncle, who is wheel chair bound from the car to the function room without having to encounter any stairs.

It was also meant to be a surprise party. But when the guests are somewhat geriatric, they tend to forget important facts that you tell them i.e. "DO NOT RING MY MOTHER AND ASK FOR DETAILS!", "PLEASE RING MY BROTHER OR MYSELF. DO NOT RING MY MOTHER!", "IT IS A SURPRISE PARTY, PLEASE DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER"

Even despite these repeated pleas, an uncle (not the same one) rings my mother and apologises profusely for not being able to attend her surprise birthday party! We put it down to his being 78 years old and regardless of how disappointed we are that the cat out of the bag, we've just had to plod along and plan the rest of it.

A friend of mine commented that she hates it now that she has to be a parent to her parents. Not because it's tiresome and a bother, which it can be, but because us needing to parent them reminds us of their fragility and the fact that they are indeed getting older. And anyone who is close to their parents, doesn't want to think about that because it leads to the inevitable which, in our minds is unthinkable.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:36

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