Well, this message is for those who still enjoy the pleasure of the company of one or both of their parents. Let me start by saying, Congratulations to you. I assume, of course, that you love your mum and dad so dearly because this is mostly the case everywhere. There are instances though where some kind of deep animosity,to a point of irreconcilable differences exist between parents and their children, but these are rare to find.
Why do I congratulate you ? It’s because you are in a sweet position right now that I can only wish for. You see, I lost mine a few years ago and it still hurts.
Depending on the age of your mum, and/or dad, the tendency is for many of us to take it for granted that we would always have our parents with us.
If they are elderly and old, perhaps the thought of someday losing them will not sound as ridiculous as when we still see them in their young , ‘sweet-sixteen-looking” image. Notwithstanding their present age, the bitter truth is that they will someday disappear from this terrain and the earlier you reconcile yourself to this the better.
Normally, many persons don’t require any persuasion to love and pamper their parents. It’s natural that you want your mum and dad to know how much you appreciate them. The problem with many sons and daughters, however, is that they keep looking at a date in the future when they could do this thoroughly and more satisfactorily. “My mum understands my present struggles and she knows I love her so dearly that I would give the moon to her if I had the means”. That’s the kind of thought process many adults entertain.
The problem is that, much as we all pray towards this end, not every family will enjoy the blessing of seeing parents reach such advance old age, with the children attaining their desired comfortable state to bankroll the pleasures of life for mum or dad.
This then is the crux of the matter. We miss the point when we wait to attain the state of our dreams before showering our parents with tangible love. More than money, they need our open affection. Pampering them is not only about buying them cars and exotic apartments, especially if we haven’t reached that financial level yet.
Simple gestures that deliberately convey love and deep affections last longer and leave more enduring memories than we often imagine. A regular call to say “Mum, how are you today? I just want you to know I love you”. Dad, I trust you’re fine? Dropping by to see them whenever you can or sending someone to check on them, taking care of their laundry, sending inexpensive gifts of provision or foodstuff, a simple clothing, etc even if you know they are financially well off and really do not need these things.
To a parent, your small bunch of fruits is far more valuable than the treasures they can afford to buy for themselves. This is especially so if they know these little gestures are the reflection of your level at this particular period. In time, as your means improve, the volume and regularity of what you lavish on them would change accordingly. This to my mind, is far better than doing nothing for them because your plan is big but somewhere in the future!
By the way, how often do you take the children to enjoy moments with grandma or grandpa? How many photo sessions have you had together lately? Just imagine the impact of a surprise birthday party to which some of their old friends are invited! Quite importantly, how well are you acquainted with your parents’ family tree and indigenous background? Many of us simply never bothered to hear their complete stories! In this wise, I imagine that many obituaries contain incomplete or made up stories in the ‘biography” sections, except where the deceased is literate enough to have documented his or her stories in full.
Take the case of my mum who died at 86! That age was ripe enough to have afforded the children all the time in the world to know all about her, right? Yet, I only realized rather late that I didn’t get enough from her regarding her childhood. By the time she fell ill, though it was for a short period, several questions still played on my mind that I wished I could ask and put on tape. Though she was in the right frame of mind to have answered correctly and lucidly on her sick bed, it occurred to me that such questions had suddenly become too insensitive at that moment and could only indicate that I had given up on her recovery.
So, ultimately, I was left lamenting the many missed opportunities – like her many milestone birthday celebrations, her sponsored trips abroad, her periodic visits to her children’s homes, etc during which she could have enthusiastically availed us all we might have desired to know.
Now, back to you. It really doesn’t matter how well you are taking care of your parents already. You might have bought them a car or personal house. God bless your soul for that. Yet, there is always room to do more. To call on them more often, and simply shower them with love endlessly. Mark my word, no matter how advance the age at which you lose your parents, you would wonder if there was not far more you could have done!
Finally, for those men and women who have sworn to remain distant from their parents, I appeal that you have a rethink. Such an attitude towards one’s parent goes against a fundamental instruction of God. Exodus 20:12 says “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you”. Remember the bible does not distinguish between parents who were good to you or those who abandoned you.
No excuses under the sun should make you remain defiant at reconciling with your parents. You are simply setting yourself up for eternal regret at a time it would be too late to reverse the hands of the clock.
We do take many things for granted, don’t we?. We assume that there would always be enough time to mend our differences and enjoy each other’s embrace! Who could have ever imagined, just a few months back, that the world would come to a point when people are barred for their own sake from touching and embracing their dying loved ones, being left with no final memories beyond looking at each other behind glass wall and from a distance?