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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Being Parents

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

This past week we have been to two funerals and a wedding. I seem to recall that there was a funny movie about such as this a few years ago. I didnít think of the experiences of this week as humorous.

The funerals were for relatives of (Mother and a mother in law) of close friends. You go to those to show support for your friends and to let them know you care about your friendship. The wedding was for the son of my wifeís cousin. It was nice, and so were the funerals. Both of the ladies who had died had lived long and productive lives. Both died in their sleep without any long lingering illness, the best way you can go.

But the point here is not about funerals or weddings, itís about kids. All of you readers who have children can relate to what I am about to say. Itís about our relationship with our kids.

We never stop being our parentís sons or daughters no matter how old we are. So, even though one of the women that died was 94 years oldÖ..her children were always her babies, not matter how old they were. Iím sure they felt her continuing love and concern for them until the day she passed away.

You never stop worrying about them no matter how old they are. When they are out of town or on the road, you want to know they arrived or got home safely. A lot of times they seem to get irritated when you ask them to call or you call them just to make certain they are ok. They tell you they are grown, and indeed they are, but you still worry and are concerned, thatís what being a parent is all about. Thatís also what love is all about. If you didnít love them, why would you want to know they were safe? It comes with the package.

We have four sons, I started to say we have four boys, but they arenít boys any longer, they are men. We have two granddaughters. One is almost fifteen and the other is three. Iíd be willing to bet that my sons will worry about those girls as we continue to worry about our boys. Itís a natural thing to do.

I got into a discussion with one of my sons the other week. We got to talking about cell phone calls. I asked why he didnít answer his calls sometimes and he said it was because ďI turn my phone off at night.Ē I told him when he had kids he wouldnít do that. He asked why I always answered my cell phone when he called even when I am busy and donít have time to talk.

I told him when he became a father, heíd understand. Only when you are a parent can you begin to understand.

In todayís world of caller id, we can always choose who we want to take calls from and who we donít want to talk to. Iím not the best person to talk to on the phone since I hate to engage in chit-chat. In fact Iím so bad that people always know that Iím in the car driving on a road trip when they get a call from me and I want to talk. They usually start the conversation off with something along the lines ofÖ ďWhere are you driving to, today?Ē

Iím better than I used to be, but I could still do with a lot of improvement.

Anyway, when you get calls from your kids, you take them, no matter if youíre in the mood to talk or not. No matter what time of the day or night it is. They could be in an accident, in the hospital or in jail and youíd want to know about it. They could also be in love.

You want those calls, no matter when, so you can help, if you need to do so.

We all hate those calls from our kids after ten at night. Those are like the telegrams our parents and grandparents got back in the thirties and forties. Generally they arenít good. But we take them anyway, because thatís what we do when we are parents.

I donít know how or if I want to break this habit. As much as I know it hacks my kids off to keep track of them as adults, I hope someday they will realize how much we cared about them and we were always there if they needed us. The world we live in isnít the same as it was when I was a kid. It gets dark and scary and lots of bad things happen to good people.

When my time comes and they lay me to rest, I just want my sons to know that they were loved and that my wife and I were concerned about their well being. To do otherwise seems to me to defeat the very definition of being a good parent.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
July 24, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Books by Peary Perry
 
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