I had a startling thought this morning—as we get older, so do our parents.
It’s strange to think the people who birthed you, who raised you, who played peek-a-boo or tenderly washed your pudgy body in the bathtub are growing, too. It’s scary.
I think I’ve always imagined my parents were going to stay the same: same dark hair, same laugh, same body and smile. It’s not like either of them have gone through a drastic change or anything like that, but I’ve become aware of the subtle ways they’re getting older—their tired smiles at night, the sigh in my mother’s voice on the other end of the phone, the few gray hairs sprouting up in my father’s mustache.
They’re not supposed to grow old, right?
We see it happening to the other adults, the other parents around us, but not our parents. Our parents are supposed to be timeless, still, and unchanging. They’re not supposed to suddenly transform.
They’re always supposed to be the hard-headed, tough-as-nails but incredibly kind parents who sat in the first row of every one of your elementary school choir concerts or cheered from the bleachers at every one of your Little League games.
They’re not supposed to get old.
But the sad part, is that they are. Every single day, just like you. As you grow, so do they. As your life changes, so does theirs. Each year brings you heartbreak or adventure or a new job or a trip across the country or some kind of change, and each year brings your life a little farther from theirs.
But don’t let it.
Explore. Learn. Grow. Change. But don’t leave your parents behind you. Take time to reach out to them, to visit them, to talk to them on the phone, to tell them you love them, or just to remind them.
The harsh truth about this life is that none of us will last forever. But our love can.
Share love with your parents because love is timeless. And now it’s your turn to love them for all the years they gave you their everything. Now it’s your turn to love them unconditionally back, right when they need it the most.
As you go about living your life, please remember the ones who raised you. Remember the way they put your needs before their own. Remember the way they taught you to laugh, to fight through adversity, to listen to your heart, and to chase your dreams.
Remember to still reach out to them, even as you chase those dreams.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own wants, our own goals, our own selfish ways of thinking that we sometimes forget that the lives of the people around us are changing, too.
Take a moment to reach out to a parent, to a person who raised you or was there for your childhood moments. Tell them you are thankful. Tell them you are blessed. Tell them that they matter to you, because without them, you wouldn’t be who you are right now.