Midlife brings with it a change in parenting. We spent 20+ years raising our children from babies into becoming capapble, self-sufficient adults. We breathed a sigh of relief as they launched themselves successfully into the world and thought we could sit back and rest on our laurels.
What we hadn't noticed during all the time we focused on our own little family, was that our parents were growing older. They went from being Midlifers to becoming "old people" while we were looking the other way.
THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM
The other end of life's spectrum has come, as our parents start to take the place of our children. They've gotten older and as their health and mobility decreased, so their needs increased. I know many people who have parents who are completely dependent on them, whether it's from age and incapacity or from Alzheimers or from loneliness, they are now taking up a lot of time and attention.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
We are fortunate in the fact that my Mum is still robust and busy leading a great life. She travels and socializes and even has a younger lover to keep her busy. She would be mortified to think that she needed me to care for her, but at the same time, when she had a knee replacement last year, we were there for her and took her in full time until she was fit enough to go home. The experience gave me great admiration for those who do this sort of thing all the time.
My husband's parents are have reached the frail aged stage where they are needing more support. They are pretty self sufficient most of the time, but they are calling for help more often. Their garden has become too much, the household maintenance is too much - just climbing a ladder to change a lightbulb is risky now days. They are downsizing their lives but regardless, Midlife parenting has taken on a whole new definition.
I'm hoping that with good health and loads of vitality, we won't be too much of a burden on our children when it's their turn for Midlife. We are certainly a lot a lot healthier and more independent than the preceding generations were at our age - and I might add, we are rocking the whole grandparenting gig! Maybe we'll be dancing our way into our 90's and our kids will have to run to catch up!
See you tomorrow for Q which is for Quotes about Midlife.