Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Control is only an illusion

Control is an issue we struggle with our entire life. When we are children, we push to be independent from our parents. As young adults, we try to live on our own and are reluctant to ask for help. I don't remember the exact situation but my father's words are burned in my memory.
"You will always be dependent."

At first this statement really bothered me. And then I came to realize he was right. As a parent, he was happy to help lessen my struggles, whether they were financial or emotional. It was a symbiotic relationship. My father derived pleasure at being able to take care of his child, and I was grateful to have support a system.

The tables get turned as we get older. The parent starts to reluctantly depend more on their children. And fights it every step of the way!

This past weekend I took my oldest son for a weekend trip to Connecticut to visit my Aunt & Uncle who moved from California to an assisted living facility near my aunt's family. My Uncle, who is my dad's older brother, and his wife have no children. One of my aunt's nieces and her husband have been working hard to get my Aunt & Uncle's affairs in order.

The visit was a nice chance to bond with my eldest child and help lift the spirits of my uncle.
My son was eager to get away from younger brothers and have an adventure. My uncle was having a difficult time adjusting to living in an assisted living facility and needing round the clock help.

It was an interesting juxtaposition. My 10 year old son, trying to assert his independence and my uncle bemoaning his loss of control over his life.

I advised my uncle to relax, let family help and I made a silent promise to myself that if I find myself in a similar situation in my twilight years, I will let my kids take over.

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