They were once the world to us. Then it happened?we grew up
MY BROTHER called me, ?We need to have a meeting.?

I asked, ?What about??

?It?s about mom.?

That was the only time I was told what was to happen. Mom would have surgery that week. My brothers knew about it a couple of weeks back. But no one told me. That night, I heard the whole story, and why I was the last to know. Mom thought I had too much in my hands already so that the news about her might only cause me more stress.

It?s really no surprise why some parents choose not to tell their children their health problems. I know theirs is a valid reason but sometimes we wish we could?ve been told earlier, so that it doesn?t come to us as a shock.

Mom has had her share of challenges and ups and downs. Ever since my father passed away 30 years ago, we?ve felt how she?s missed dad. She has devoted her life to rearing us the best way she could. Since my brothers and I got married, she has always been supportive even in the smallest things.

And, of course, there were occasional disagreements that brought to light the generation gap.

But these were also the times I have learned the most.

Creating the gap

This gap happens not only between us and our children, but also between us and our own parents. From birth, we have lived under their guidance and rules. They were the world to us. Then it happened?we grew up.

When we step into another stage of our lives (whether it?s career, starting a family or going through a major change), we often feel that we are independent enough to make our own decisions.

The fact that we and our parents are adults prods us to expect that they should be able to think like we do. And when conflicts arise, we evaluate them from our own perspective of how an adult should behave.

Imagine a shelf already filled with books. When new books start to arrive, and space has to be made for them on that shelf, what happens? Whether you remove the old books or retain your favorites, still, some books must go. Some of us may have unconsciously likened the old and less favorite books to our own parents.

Reasons for being

We sometimes take them for granted, without considering that at their age, they have worries too: health, memory gaps and even less mobility?there are a lot of things they can?t do anymore.

They may look back on their lives, how they fared in their youth, maybe even feel some regret. In all this, whether they admit it or not, they turn to us for comfort.

They may not be the decision-makers anymore, but our parents still wish to be heard and acknowledged. If they tend to be tactless and callous, it?s because they feel left out. Even in their infirmity, they hope they remain a vital presence in our lives.

Building bridges

Come to think of it, aren?t these the same things we need? Some of us usually forget because we are focused on our spouse and children, responsibilities, financial obligations and other concerns. We take our parents for granted because now we have our own world, even if they had a hand in giving us that world to begin with. I don?t think we want this to happen to us when the time comes.

It really doesn?t cost anything to tell our parents: ?Thank you?; ?I really appreciate this?; ?I love you, Mom.?

It won?t cost you to make them feel you love them just by holding their hand while you cross the street, while you?re talking with them, giving them compliments, hugging them when you are happy or sad, looking at them lovingly while answering their questions, or even while arguing, not raising your voice and just calmly explaining your side.

Whatever happens, always listen first?hard to do because we always anticipate what they will say so that what comes out of our mouths is not pleasant to hear. If their suggestion is, indeed, better, let us accept it and thank them.

Let us be more patient and understanding when we evaluate a situation?why could he/she have said that? How will he/she respond if I answer back this or that way? Is there a need he/she is trying to fulfill? What would be the proper response to avoid misunderstanding?

We can?t control how our parents think, but we can control how we respond. Then we learn.

I admire those who have amazing relationship with their parents; whose relationship is based on trust, communication and unselfishness; those who are able to spend much time with each other and have the opportunity to bridge that gap.

There are so many things I still want to do for my mom. I know many factors limit me, but I could start with this.

My life?s bookshelf brims with books, some of which I haven?t even read but had planned to. Now, I will look at my shelf and check if I honestly need to read all these other books. If not, they go; so that the Book of Mom could have more space.