“Did you fall and hurt your knee, my dear??”
“Yes,” the little girl tells her Mother.
“Aww, it’s going to be alright, honey!” consoles her Mother.
“Did the boy bully you, sweetie?”
“Yes,” says the little girl to her Father.
“It’s going to be just fine, don’t worry, I’m here!” says her Father.
10 years later:
“I can’t believe they fooled us like this!”
“It’s okay, Dad, it’s going to be alright!”
“He spoke really rudely to me, no respect!”
“I’ll take care of it, Mom! Don’t worry at all.”
“Hello? You have to go through me to get to my parents. Steer clear.”
When I was a kid, I used to play. This was probably 15 years ago. I used to play a lot and fall a lot, hurting myself. I would cry and run home, to be lovingly consoled. A few years later, I was the target of many bullies. I would come home crying, to be lovingly consoled. Most of us go through this and most of us have a family who help us through it all. Our parents or our loved ones always support us in trying times. But what happens when the roles are reversed? Do you think the roles aren’t reversed? If you do, you are wrong.
Our parents, as and when they grow older, become more vulnerable to the bad things in the world. True, they have experience on their side, but the world is getting difficult to cope with even for us, the present youth, hence, imagine the condition for them. After all, it is a world different from their own youth. So, sometimes, they find themselves in tough situations wherein they have to be consoled because it affects them badly. They are shaken and require a pillar of strength. The day you start helping them get through all the hurt and falling down, you start parenting your parents, a little.
So, the deal with the education loan began, for my further studies. My parents and I came to a consensus that I will focus on my studies and they will concentrate on the finances. But one day, I received a call from my very flabbergasted parents complaining about the bank, how they cheated them, didn’t reveal all the details, changed the whole deal at the last moment, the entire game, made things so difficult, etc. I heard them out, and what did I do? Well, I let them vent. It was a shock to them. They do have experiences with the system, bad ones, when they were fooled, manipulated, conned. But age is catching up now and the idea that things might not work out or that they have run out of strength to run around from one place to another, stuck in the whirlpool that the “helpful system” is, had shocked them.
After the initial shock had ebbed, the frustration vented out, I proposed the strategy of going elsewhere for the loan. A slightly higher rate of interest, but after I made them calculate the difference and reasoned that the difference will nearly be equal to the amount spent on running around here and there, trying to get work done for which they are paying the money, they decided that the elsewhere option is a better option.
What did I learn from this? Like us, our parents get taken aback too, and under such circumstances, they have no one, but us, to come to for advice. And they do. It is our duty to help them out, to console them, to make time.
Well, I am not one of the blessed ones, who have a wonderful family, the extended one. I might say that I don’t care, but I do. My blood boils at the mention of most of them and I have myself executed severance of ties with a couple of them. I am just 21. Until recently, my word was no word because well, I was the “kid”. Apparently, I still am. So they say. It annoys me, but I guess I have to ignore such comments now. There isn’t time to dwell on such trivial matters. But let me assure you, a large family doesn’t always mean a loving family. In fact, it could be the opposite. Scheming and being jealous are characteristic traits of this ‘opposite’ kind of family. Nosing into unconcerned matters is a compulsion here.
So, anyway, until recently, I was too young to be involved. But my parents have been. I know the whole story and I am not biased. If I think my parents are wrong, I tell them. I am allowed to have an opinion in my house. But from how wonderfully I see my parents being treated and how unashamedly they act indifferent to my Father’s struggle, I have no doubt about who is right or wrong. And unfortunately, the concept of a happy joint family has been ruined for me. I don’t believe in it and I never will. The joyous reunion of all family members, the reminiscing, the stories shared over a big feast, I have never seen this and I never will. Due to the bad name given to relations on one side, I don’t think I will ever truly be able to appreciate the love bestowed on me by my Mother’s side. How sad is that?
So, anyway. This was me venting. But there are a couple of instances where I took action. Remember the bullies? How at times, parents had to intervene? This is just the same, but a more ferocious version. I cannot stand my parents being wronged, no one can. So what do I do? I thrash the bullies. Once it was because of a cousin speaking ill about my Father, I very politely asked them to never bother us again. Second time, it was an obnoxious cousin, speaking for his Mother, who should have minded her own business, but couldn’t. He couldn’t talk nicely to my Mother, so I very politely, on a level far above his reach, asked him to keep him and his Mother to himself. The satisfaction that you get when you counter an invective with, “You’ll talk better if you knew whom you were talking to,” is immense, especially when the other party thinks he is still on line with my meek Mother and not me, who won’t hesitate being equally crass.
These are instances when I had the opportunity to defend my parents and I feel proud about it. I am no longer the “kid”. I am a force to be reckoned with, especially when it concerns my parents. True, I am leaving them, but I’ll always be a phone call away. And for us, family is us three. Only we matter.
P. S. This was to be the post for the 3rd Sunday of June. Better late than never! Happy parenting! 🙂