There comes a time in our lives when, sooner or later, we become parents to our own parents.
It’s just a process in life. It’s nothing to look forward to; it just happens. For some of us, it might be a piece of advice here and there, but to others, it becomes more than that—almost like looking after a child.
It wasn’t like all of my other trips, which had mainly been for pleasure—the ones that I used to take during the summer with my daughter to spend time with the grandparents. We used to go to places, picnics, sightseeing, and all the shopping we could afford to do.
My mum used to buy us clothes and hang them in our wardrobes, ready for us to use. She would get us chocolate mousse and place them in the fridge for us. But gradually, things have started to change.
Even when I had gone to see my parents three years ago, there weren’t any of our favorites in the fridge, waiting for us. No chocolate mousse or cheese. I had to go and get them myself, which was fine. I also noticed my dad doing more cooking than normal.
My parents were getting older and were having their own problems. We were merely fleeting visitors.
Whenever they came to visit us, I would have their place ready and organize their help, and I had started noticing the gradual change then. I would take them out whenever I could and go to see them every day. It was nice to have them over and nearby.
However, although I was expecting to see my mum as she was, I wasn’t expecting her to talk less. That bothered me, but I remained focused and unruffled. Earlier, no matter how jet-lagged I had been, my mum and I would talk for hours after I got there. We would catch up and gossip about everyone.
This time, I was really calm about the whole process. It was as if someone was helping me to act composed— some sort of external, higher-order, and powerful source. I went out of my way and helped my parents as much as I could. I cooked, cleaned, ironed, and organised their kitchen as well as my mum’s wardrobe.
It was tiring. It was mentally draining, too, as I didn’t have my daughter or husband there to distract me from what had become my routine or my duty. Moreover, it was during lockdown time, so it was just the three of us in the house for two and a half months. Occasionally, I would go for walks which became my catharsis.
I would help my mum, comb her hair, and put moisturiser on her face. She was just like a little innocent child. It was a chore at the time, but I miss doing that for her. I miss seeing her.
She talks less over the phone and never phones me now. It’s only I who call them now. Sometimes, they don’t even return my calls which leads me to get worried for them. But I guess those are the days when they don’t have much to say. I pacify myself and move on, hoping they will return my call the next day.
I was too busy doing all the chores that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have wanted to with my mum. I pray for them every day—for their health, and so they get the strength and courage to carry on.
After all, all parents pray for their children, don’t they?