The Paradigm of Parenting


This isn’t something you think about, if you have had a normal childhood. Which one of us, when we were young and under the care of loving parents, would think that one day the shoe would be on the other foot? If we thought about it, we contemplated having young ones of our own. Flying the nest, building our own nest, watching our fledglings grow, feather, and eventually fly… 

You don’t think about the parents coming to your nest, having moulted and needing care. I’m thinking about it today because earlier in the week we received a phone call that was, in essence, what the girls did to us in their early teens. ‘Hey… I need a ride?’ 

There’s only one answer to that. ‘When, and where?’ 

Just as the fledglings are flying, the elders are returning to the roost. It’s not a burden, because when you love someone, caring for them is a joy. When you think about all the care and tears they shed over you while you were going through those pinfeather pains of childhood, you don’t even think twice about the question… Now, if we can convince them of that! It’s frustrating to know something is wrong, and help is needed, but to be kept in the dark to worry because they don’t want you to worry. Oh. I love you but I could shake you! Now I am laughing and wondering if I am thinking of the young adults out on their own with wobbly wings, or the Grands with their wobbly wings! 

Stuck in the middle. It’s no bad place to be. Beats the alternative of not having one side, or the other, or worst of all: both. Generational span that can reach as far as it can is fine by me. I’ve got a photo around here of five generations of us. A blessing that my children could know and learn from my great-grandmother. See, that’s the thing about being a parent. You’re required to look like you know what you are doing, while deep inside you are flapping and running in circles thinking ‘I have no idea! What am I doing?!’ But you can’t let any of that show – it’s terrible for the children. I haven’t asked, but I suspect the parents to this day feel something like that, mine, and the First Reader’s… and my grandmother, too. 

It’s part of growing up into fully-formed adults. We have to step into parental shoes eventually, even if we didn’t ourselves have chick or child. The First Reader had to step into those shoes when he asked me to marry him, knowing I was a package deal. I don’t know that he had yet contemplated he’d be wearing them for his parents, in just a few short years. 

My nest will be a little emptier tonight, as the First Reader wings off to give that ride. It’s not the first time, nor the last, and soon enough I’ll be either hauling a moulting parent into our nest, or flying off to theirs, myself. It’s the way life is, and I’m happy to do it. (Beats the alternative, Dad!) I just wish we could persuade the parents to let us parent  care for them and remember what they would have wanted from us as teens: honest communications! It’s more worry to not know what’s going on than it is to be informed! 

We may need a bigger nest… 



2 responses to “The Paradigm of Parenting”

  1. Just as a gas will expand to fill the area it is contained in, so will a family.
    At least, that’s my experience.
    So, if you get a bigger nest, the nestlings will come.
    At least, that’s my experience.

    My gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, and I have often discussed selling the homestead when the last minor gets out of high school in four years, buying a Winnebago, and running away.

    Not saying I recommend that for you!

    1. We have talked about selling when the Little Man moves out, moving, and not leaving a forwarding address! LOL

      With parents needing care, it gets tricky. They are also independent adults, who need their space and good boundaries.