With my mom being sick and my having to take care of her, I am reminded of the song in the movie Lion King that talks about the circle of life. Many years back she was the one who took care of me and had to worry about every little scratch and ache, years later my sister and I are the ones who fuss over every little ache and worry about how both she and dad are doing.
Last weekend we had a meeting with my cousins; our many children were playing outside while we sat indoors eating and planning. It was so déjà vu. I remembered how my mom would be sitting with her siblings and relatives bonding or planning while my siblings, cousins (most of whom were present in the meeting) and I would be out wrecking havoc. Such is the circle of life.
As we continued with the meeting I tried to picture TJ, Toriah and the rest of the gang 20 years from today. Perhaps they too would one day be meeting, deliberating about issues whose gravity they are totally unaware of at this age. Have I prepared them adequately for it? Would they have capacity or would life’s eventualities handicap them?
More importantly I wondered if I was fostering the kind of relationship that my parents have with my siblings and I. If the time came and they needed to take care of me, would my children embrace it as a privilege the way I felt or would they consider it a burden? Sobering questions for a mother to ask! Perhaps times will have changed and adult care facilities will not only be available but well run. Whatever the case, I would wish that my boys would choose to be there for me.
Back in primary school I was taught two proverbs that keep ringing in my head at this time. The first is that what goes round comes round; the second is you reap what you sow. My mom sowed care and she is reaping it in shovelfuls. I remember years back one of my aunties came to live with us. She had bone cancer that eventually got her.
My mom worked full time then, but she made sure my aunt was well taken care of and made time for her every evening just to touch base and make her know she was valued and that her care was not a burden. This was her in-law and she would have chosen to not get involved. But she didn’t, she just saw a need and jumped in to help expecting nothing from anyone else.
Years later, my mom is the sick one and though her prognosis is much better, she has received double measure of what she dished out. Her hospital bed has been surrounded by people who genuinely care about her, my dad or her children, and the support has been overwhelming. What she did has come back pressed down, shaken together and rolling over.
Back to my boys; this whole process has opened up my eyes to the reality that today I may have the privilege of being the caregiver, but years down the line the privilege will belong to them. I pray to God that like my mom, I will have sown seeds whose harvest I will be glad to receive.