Role reversal

I did it.

I read something in the news, zeroed in on the tangential link to a loved one’s travel itinerary, and made the call. Knowing it was not wholly relevant. Knowing it was unsubstantiated for a variety of reasons. But I did it anyways.

I’ve become my mother. Except I’m mothering my mother–or parents, rather.

Perhaps it’s a testament to my own aging — and taking up of the irrational fretting of mothers, aunties and grannies the world over — but conversations with friends and colleagues have, on more than one occasion, turned to worries about our parents. Worries about their travels, their future, their happiness. Worries about decisions they’ve made that we somehow now expect/want/feel entitled to be informed about, if not consulted.

It’s not quite role reversal because, make no mistake about it, our parents are still admonishing us not to go to bed too late or reminding us to be careful with street food when we travel, but there’s somehow now a feeling of responsibility for our parents inasmuch as they’ve felt a responsibility to take care of us for the past however many years.

I’m not really sure when exactly this shift occurred, but I do know that I must try to heed the advice of my 16-, 22- and 30-year-old selves: “Relax. Don’t worry. It’s fine.” (Hopefully without the sigh and the eye-roll).


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