When you’re little you see adults as indestructible. They can do anything, fix anything, and help you to do anything. When you’re 6 you want to be 16 because they can drive a car and that’s totally awesome. When you’re 13 you want to be 18 because they can finally leave the house. When you’re 18 you want to be 21. When you’re (insert age here) you want to be (insert age here). For the first part of your life it seems that all you want to do is grow up, despite being told by just about every adult out there to enjoy your youth while you’re in it.
Growing up I always thought my dad was the strongest man ever and would never look frail or tired or anything like that. He is a welder, so that’s probably not far from the truth. But now that he’s getting older he’s starting to fall apart a little. He’s getting arthritis in his joints, he’s got sleep apnea, he’s tired a lot, sometimes limping. It has been tough for me to see how much he has aged.
It’s the same with my grandparents. They always lived just down the street growing up and my brother, sister, and I would spend hours there each week. We would see them constantly and they always had so much energy, chasing after us and taking care of their home and pool. They both worked in education (Papa was a elementary principal for 35 years and Grandma was a first grade teacher for almost as long) and I know from my own experience that working with young children takes a ton of energy. But they have been retired for at least 15 years now. They are getting older and that is so hard for me. They’ve even started dividing up some of their things, asking the family to choose some of the things they want so it isn’t a concern later.
Watching our elders grow older and leave this life is so tough. We spend so much of our childhood oblivious to the fact that they won’t be with us forever. They teach us, guide us, comfort us, punish us. They are always there when we need them. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for everything my elders have done for me. I know that without them I would not be the woman I am today. I would not be the mother or wife that I am. They have shaped my life with theirs and that is something I will keep with me for the rest of time.