By: Sherry Levine, Regular Contributor
I remember the first time I realized my parents were human. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I can’t remember what triggered the thought, maybe I saw one of them cry or look stressed or sad. But it dawned on me, they’re people like me. They were once me, young and energetic, fearless and hopeful. As I thought about myself, as a child and what I wanted to be when I was older, and the family I wanted to have, and the dreams I had for myself, I immediately thought of my parents.
Had they lived and accomplished all the dreams and goals they had as a child? Is this the life they saw for themselves? Probably not entirely, but I think yes. As people I realized, they must have regrets, insecurities and fears just like I do and will when I’m older. They have worries and stresses and wake up wondering if they are being good parents, good people and good friends. As I get older this becomes more and more apparent. Every year is a brand new journey.
As children we have a tendency to look at our parents as only parents. Our parents are older and have always been older. They have always been parents. It’s hard to see them as adults who were once kids and teenagers, teenagers like we were or are, enjoying life, acting stupid and falling in love. To us, they are somewhat immortal. They can’t get hurt, they don’t get sick, don’t cry, don’t make mistakes, have everything figured out and know exactly what they’re doing in any situation. When I first realized this wasn’t true I immediately felt for my parents. I understood them. I wanted to be there for them. I wanted them to know I understand that in the midst of growing older, experiencing hardships and trying to raise a family, they are just doing their best.
Image from ignite.me
I have a lot of friends who have parents that have gotten sick or divorced or are struggling with life. Seeing a parent in such a vulnerable, weak position must be so incredibly difficult. I feel for all of my friends and think of them as very strong for dealing with situations like that. We do see our parents as immortal. If we can understand that they are people experiencing heartache and pain the same way we can, we may be able to create a beautiful relationship with them, a mutually understanding and loving relationship with them.
No matter how old, successful, powerful or strong. No matter how put together, wise or patient. Every age we reach is our first time at that age, our first time to embark on a different journey, our first time to experience that new chapter of our lives. My parents have never been 60 and 67 years old. They don’t know what to expect. Between body changes, perception changes and new obstacles to face, every year to them is just as new as every year to us.
Try to remember these things the next time you get into a tiff or fight with a parent. Next time you see your parent upset or stressed out. Be there for them as they are for you, try to understand where they’re coming from and why they are acting strict or protective, and remember they are too doing their best. They are sometimes sad, confused, and unsure, they do worry that they are doing the right thing. They make mistakes, they are sometimes mean and sometimes wrong but they are raising us, they want the best for us and they are learning. They get scared of getting older and they are trying to be happy. As they get older, as we get older, they experience new things, losing parents, siblings and friend. Watching us grow older, become our own people and become parents. It never gets old, and it’s never easy. They are still living life. And we all will, until the very end.
About Sherry: I am Sherry Levine. A 26-year-old woman committed to supporting and inspiring women in any way I can. With my contributions to I AM THAT GIRL and my life-coaching program Generation Teen, designed to provide guidance to everyday teen girls, it is my mission to encourage and empower all women to create the happiest and most fulfilling life possible.