Underfed and over packed I walked through the front door of my house for a week of spring break. Unlike tons of my friends I wasn’t going to Mexico to get tan and shwasty for Spring Break but I was okay with it. A little TLC from Mom (and my bed) is all I needed. As I was stuffing my face with all the home cooked meals I was longing for I looked up at my parents and, for the first time ever, I thought they looked old. And not parent-old but really old. My Dad was wearing slippers I’ve only ever seen my Grandpa wear and my Mom was asking if her gray strands were showing.
And then it hit me, as I am counting down until my 21st and getting older every year, so are my parents. For so many years of my life I viewed my parents as invincible, nothing can hurt them, they’ll never be like my grandparents. I realize one day I’m going to walk through that front door with a full time job and mini-me’s running after me and my Dad’s hair may not be black anymore, and my feisty little mom won’t be able to dance around like we used to.
Here is what I- and every 20 year old suffering from “my parents will never get old syndrome” — need to tell their parents now- before it’s too late.
1. Yes, I will stay home.
I have more memories of hanging out with my friends in high school than any memories with my parents. My friends will be around for a hell of a lot longer than my parents so I better start saying “Yeah, Mom, I’ll stay home with you tonight.” Let’s be real ladies- the mall can wait. Just taking an hour to lay on your Mom’s lap while a rerun Hallmark is playing will probably be the highlight of her week- and maybe yours too.
2. Yeah, Dad, I’ll help you with that.
My Dad is 6 foot and 200 pounds, he never really needed my help to hold the paint can or blow up my bike tires but that was his way of spending time with his teenage daughter. One day my Dad isn’t going to be able to climb up a ladder and put our Christmas lights up- I better help him now.
3. I’ll cook dinner.
It is too easy to take for granted coming home to dinner every night, it’s too easy to expect that I can throw my laundry in the basement and it’ll magically be cleaned and folded on my bed the next day. It’s too easy to know that when I get a flat tire my Dad will answer his phone and get to me in 4 minutes. It is too easy to take our parents for granted. I’m older now- I don’t live at home anymore, I have a job and car, and I can start repaying the favors. It’s time to repay the favors and stop thinking our parent’s “jobs” are to save our asses on a daily basis.
4. Thanks, guys.
Thanks Mom, for showing me the boy that dumped me in 4th grade doesn’t matter. Thanks for spending 3 days straight waiting outside dressing rooms as I searched for the perfect prom dress. Thanks for hosting a million movie nights in our living room with too much sugar and too many screaming girls.
Hey, Dad, thanks. Thanks for teaching me how to drive and understanding when I accidently hit that parked car. Thanks for worrying when I came home too late because that means you care. Thanks for buying me a cell phone when (shocker) I really didn’t need one in 6th grade. Oh, hey, parents, thanks for giving me the chance to enjoy my childhood, be care free in high school, and go to the best University in the world.
To my friends out there, I think it’s getting to be that time where we put down our phones and cancel our party plans to spend time with our parents. They won’t be around forever, ya know.