Friday, September 17, 2010

Rites Of Passage

Spending the last few days taking care of my daughter and my new grandson has been an opportunity to watch the circle of life from a younger perspective. Having been a caregiver for elderly parents for the past few years, I have been immersed in the circle from the other side.

It is interesting to note that like Benjamin Button, we travel through life only to find ourselves at approximately the same position. The care and feeding at the beginning and end of our lives requires loving, patient hands. There is a certain amount of fear for those in charge of the care and those in need of the care. Together, a trust evolves between the cared for and the caregiver and the journey is made meaningful and rich from the bond that develops.

Traditionally family have filled these roles but whether it is new mothers and fathers, or grown children and elderly parents, the delicate dance is a growing experience for all. I have watched my daughter listen for every breath her tiny son makes. I have seen my son-in-law change diapers like a champ while announcing the play by play. I remember playing this same role with my father-in-law toward the end of his life. My daughter talks about how long it takes to get ready just to go to the market. I share how long it takes to get the shopping done when I take my mother-in-law.

Patience is the virtue we are rewarded with through these rites of passage. And by its very nature, the circle of life encompasses us on one end or the other - someday the daughter I cared for, will hopefully care for me. What goes around, comes around as the saying goes. Hopefully the time we spend in the middle of the circle prepares us to embrace both ends. That's what a wise grandma is learning to do.

1 comment:

Susan Adcox said...

What an eloquent post. As a caregiver for my 94-year-old father, and a grandmother of seven, I am experiencing both of the ends of the circle. It's exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.