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old age

i think it's fabulous that paul (and nola will, too, eventually) has such a great relationship with his grandparents. he adores his grandfather most of all, but his grandmothers will do in a pinch.

for this reason, it makes me really sad to think about how he'll be affected when the inevitable happens -- our parents aren't exactly young, and my mother, in particular, has been making noises about being old. i've always known that she wasn't very interested in living to the ripe old age of a hundred, but it hadn't really occurred to me until recently that her desire to die before creakingly old age set in meant that she may not necessarily be around for great-grandchildren.

my own relationship with my grandparents has been rather spotty. my father's parents viewed us as pretenders to the throne -- plus they lived in another country -- so obviously we weren't close. my mother's father died when i was ten. my mother's mother is my only living grandparent, and we were never all that close. she lived with us for a while when i was a child, and again when i was in grad school, but both times i think i was too set in my ways at the time to really try to foster a good bond. i don't get to see her as much as i'd like because she lives pretty far away and it's hard to shlep the kids out there, but i honestly don't feel the lack as much as i feel like i should. i don't remember this, but apparently i was really nasty to her as a kid. when confronted with this fact several years ago (by a cousin) i felt badly, but it was all rather academic because, like i said, i don't remember it. not that that excuses it, but what else can i say?

the situation of my mother is filled with a certain poignancy because we two are the end of an era. the idea of her death fills me with total dread. even though i now have a family of my own (that expression sounds rather ridiculous, i've always thought), knowing that one day i'll be all that remains of that family never fails to bring a lump to my throat. it's not supposed to be like that. my brother should be here. children are never supposed to die before their parents.

i fear for my babies. when the time comes, will we be ready? will there be a way to help them get ready? when my mom goes, will i be too utterly devastated to help them?

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