TO SENIORS EVERYWHERE!
I am speaking from my personal experience and my observation of parents who either live with children or live alone while their children are living abroad. I’d also like to add to parents who are in senior citizen homes for whatever maybe the reason. Let’s handle one at a time.
You live with your son or daughter. First, there’s nothing wrong in living with your daughter’s family, if you do not have a son. Children are children! You raised him or her, be proud of them and if they want to support you when you need accept gracefully.
Whether you’re with a son or daughter, give them some space. They’re grown up adults, step away. You don’t have to always give suggestions as they can think and make decisions. If they make errors, they can learn from them. You’re not babysitting an adult child! Respect them as individuals. Second if you really want to share your thoughts, please do it one on one personally in a conversation mode. If they have a difference of opinion, recognize that and try not to impose your view points. Let them go out, do what they want to do, try not to tag along. It’s okay to go out with them once or twice a month but not every time. Have or develop your interest to do something that fascinates you. It can be music, dance, reading, writing, painting, traveling, chanting…anything. Let the couple deal with their routine. Walk away when they argue and don’t take sides.
If you’re offended by what was said that sounded rude, crude, selfish and arrogant, forgive them right away for they do not intent to say what you heard. Often time we judge others by their behavior and judge ourselves by our intention. Address it at the right time. Do not hold on to it if you cannot forget it.
Try not to start a conversation just before they leave for work, that could break their chain of thoughts as the plan the day. Also when they arrive at the end the day, silence is better. When they come to you asking you questions like, ‘did you sleep well, did you eat or do you need anything’, then say, ‘do you have half hour, I need some clarifications’. They’ll oblige. At that time, share your feelings, ask if any, comment on your observation of their behavior.
If you have differences, accept them and have an open communication with that particular individual face to face, including son, daughter, son in law, daughter in law. Try not to beat around the bush. This will help your adult children to know you better. They always think parents as heroes and as you grow older, you need to explain your limitations.
If they have toddlers, follow the rules that parents set at home. I have heard grandparents say, ‘ did this table hit you, let’s slap the table, or did your mom said this, let’s slap her.’ These are big ‘No-no’. We inadvertently teach them to be violent, slapping and hitting are not allowed in any scenario. In some countries, the kids are sent back home from school or suspended with such a behavior. Watch what you say to a child. They’re like wet clay and your words gets set for lifetime.
Help the family in household chores while the parents spend their precious time with their child, so they can bond. When you cannot do it, do not hesitate to voice it.
Try not to feel you’re dependent on them but know you’re living with them. Help them in whatever way, you can within your physical limitations. Try not to do too much like carrying heavy bags on the steps or something similar, thinking you’re helping, if you fall, that would be much more difficult situation for them. Take care of your physical and mental health. Go for a walk as much as you can, meet others your age group and have conversation on general topics. Do not encourage negative comments about any family members.
Second scenario, you’re living alone or with your spouse and your children are abroad. Have a routine, develop a hobby, try to talk to them once a week at a definite time. Accept that this is the reality. Be happy and cheerful that they’re happy. It’s not about you but the entire family irrespective of distance. If you sound happy, they’ll be happy too or else they’ll be worried and cannot focus on their responsibilities. As parents you have done the best and the consequences comes to you.
Try to accept life AS IS, be positive and cheerful. Believe that everything that happens in this world in our life is predestined. Try not to expect or request your children to come back to take care of you. It has to come from within and it will. If such a need arises, they’ll figure it out a way. They will not leave you stranded. If it happens differently tell yourself, ‘this is what I had asked for’. Everything that we have in life, is what we had asked for! We create our own destiny, karma phala! Therefore how you see life makes a big difference!
The world is changing rapidly. There are no more 9-5 jobs or even schools. Everything is available 24*7! Things needs to get done in this global environment. Our children are working very hard everyday, they’re racing through the traffic called life at a higher speed in a highly competitive atmosphere. If you can help them in anyway when they need, be willing to do it or else step back. Try not to add to their stress level. Eventually they’ll come back to you because you’re constantly in their thoughts. You definitely don’t want them to feel guilty.
Thirdly, you’re in a senior citizen home. Your children are abroad. Remember those days when you sent them to school, monitored their homework, compared with other children, sent them to coaching classes, TOEFL exams, visa applications…You encouraged them to choose this path.
Now, they have commitment in the new environment like mortgages, jobs, schools etc, they are trying to assimilate in the new environment and it is difficult to come back, otherwise they would have done it long back. The rubber band that has stretched cannot come back to its original size! So are individuals!
Migration is a normal process in the universe. Keep yourself busy, by reading, chanting, singing, talking to other members and even volunteering if possible. Spread a positive vibration in the home that you live. Enjoy and share those experiences with your children. They’re caught in this whirlpool called life and make life beautiful to yourself and others. Eat well, rest well, eliminate fear, anger and worry.
Help others and leave a legacy behind. If you cannot help physical, financially, use kind words to everyone that crosses your path. You’ll make a mark in their life. We’re all co-passengers, when the time comes need to be ready to get off the vehicle! Choose to be happy till your destination is reached. Happiness is a choice!
Que Sera Sera…..whatever will be, will be!