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
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.
want those calls, no matter when, so you can help, if you need to do so.
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.
From North America
July 24, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers