ROLE REVERSAL

By Deb DeArmond-

 

A recent late night discussion with one of my sons reminded me how things change as we grow older.

“I’m really proud of you, Mom.  At this stage of life, it would be easy to slow down and cut back. You are moving ahead with some new and exciting things God’s placed on your plate. It’s awesome – and I’m praying for you.”

 

It made me smile. His phrase, at this stage of life, meant, as you grow older. A really polite way of pointing that out. It made me smile, too, because it was an encouraging expression of his support – which I appreciate greatly.

It also touched my heart, because it sounded familiar. Parental.  “I’m really proud of you.” How many times in my life had I said those exact words to my son and his brothers?

And in that moment, I realized, that the roles would continue to shift over the coming years.

My own mother at 84 used to say to me, “Remember who the parent is in this relationship, dear.” That was her gentle reminder that the tone or words I had used made her feel like a child – even though it was not my intent. She knew she needed more help each day, with tasks and chores she had once done without a second thought. But she wanted to remain who she was right up until the end – my mother.

I’m not 84. I have a very long way to go to reach that point, but this moment with my son put me on notice: children often become their parents’ counselors, drivers, healthcare advocates, financial advisors (and sometimes providers) and so much more. The baton passes and the roles realign. It’s “the circle of life” I suppose.

I’m grateful to say that at the moment, my sons are not in these roles. They are my cheerleaders and champions. It’s wonderful to have them waving me on and celebrating achievements along with me.

My prayer is that I go home to be with Jesus before the time comes that I need a caregiver. If that is not God’s plan, I am grateful and confident in my sons and their wives that they will live fully the charge in God’s Word.

Honoring father and mother is not a suggestion. It’s one of the Big Ten, and it’s not always easy to do. Some may find themselves taking care of kids and Mom and/or Dad at the same time. Juggling soccer practice and hip replacement specialists at the same time is overwhelming.

It is a conscious choice we will make when the time comes. Not all children are willing to take on the eldercare role. The evening news is unfortunately filled with stories of neglect and abuse of the elderly – emotional and physical. Some seniors fall prey to their children and suffer financial loss to sons or daughters who treat Mom’s finances as their own and spend that which was meant to provide for a parent’s later years.

The Lord has an opinion about this and He has a special place in His heart for the widow, in particular. He calls caring for the orphans and widows in their trouble as “pure and undefiled relgion,” James 1:27 (NKJV).  Three additional scripture references:

“Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old,” Proverbs 23:22 (NLT).

“For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’” Matthew 15:4 (NLT).

“If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth,” Ephesians 6:3 (NLT)

So if today, if you find yourself struggling with the responsibility as a child of parents in need of care and support, bind the words of the Lord to your heart. He knew you would play this role. He saw it before you did. And He has equipped and empowered you to withstand it. Even on days when it seems impossible, it isn’t, as long as you do it in Him.

 

 

 

Deb DeArmond: Deb is wife to her high school sweetheart, Ron, who showed her the path to become a Christ follower 38 years ago. Mom to three incredible sons. Gigi to two perfect grandboys. But Jesus is her favorite, and the guys have learned to live with it. Speaker. Author. Entrepreneur. She is a transplanted Californian who has been a proud Texan for almost 8 years and she Ioves the Lone Star state!

She is optimistically mid-life and excited about the next stage of life and what God has for her now. She longs to see experienced women find their passion and place in the body of Christ, show up and finish strong. One of Deb’s favorite quotes comes from author Agatha Christie, who said, “I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.”

One Comment

  1. 9-5-2012

    Thanks, Deb, for posting this! — There is a great deal of truth in what you address…

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