My parents have been members of the "squoosh" generation for years. That time in life when you belong to neither the oldest nor the youngest generation. Rob and I joined the club 8 years ago this Saturday.
I believe parenting is the hardest and most rewarding job on the planet. Children require so much of you in terms of effort, tough decision-making, resources... but the love they give you is more than worth the hard work involved in being a mother or a father.
Being a parent surely makes us appreciate our own parents in a new light. The people we viewed as lucky to be in charge are viewed in a new light as we examine them from the vantage point of peers, in a sense. We have entered a phase of life we witnessed them living. We can understand the sacrifices, the hard choices they made to be sure they passed down values and work ethic and love to us. Even when we weren't very cooperative or willing.
The squoosh generation has two phases I think. One where you are happily ensconced between the lively youth and the wise elders of your family. The second is where you begin parenting again. The period in which you become caretakers of your own parents.
My mother is there. My aunt is there. They have, in a sense, become parents again to their mother. I think it is harder than the first go round of mothering their own children. The stages are regressing instead of moving forward to new maturity and knowledge gained. They are not preparing little ones to leave the nest, but returning one.
It is painful. It is full of tears and patience and temper tantrums. It is tragic and beautiful and horrible and loving. It is remembering the gifts your mother has given you and hanging in, sometimes by your teeth and fingernails and nothing but force of will to do your best, to be respectful and to remember that this is your mother. Even on the days you cry all the way home. Even on the days you do nothing but give and let it be taken from your heart, your soul, your energy... until you don't feel anymore. Yet you feel everything, amplified a million times.
Thank you Mama. I love you. You are an amazing mother, an amazing grandmother and the best daughter a mother could have. I will tell you that. Because she can't.
9 months ago