Role Reversal

I really haven’t thought much about the day that I’ll need to rely on my kids. Probably because I have been in such good health, and also because my parents are in such good health and they haven’t had to rely on me.

That day came a lot sooner than I expected.

As I have written, two weeks ago I broke my left ankle.  I hobbled around for 3 days before getting a diagnosis and a stabilizing boot.  During those three days, I was completely dependent on my husband and kids.  I had many tears as I tried to navigate our stairs or to simply go to the bathroom.  It was a helpless feeling, extremely frustrating, and very humbling.

What compounded my discouragement was the fact that my husband would be leaving for two weeks, and I would find myself in a position to rely solely on my kids.  Other than the extreme basics (going to the bathroom and bathing myself), I would need to rely on them for everything.

So here I am in the middle of the two weeks.   I think we’ve weathered these days pretty well.  I have depended on them for glasses of water, going into the grocery store to retrieve and pay for items on my list, running into Target for household supplies, and especially helping with the little ones for whom we nanny.

The kids came through for me.  Because of their insistence, I wasn’t allowed to make any move in the house without questions as to whether it was necessary that I move.  I wasn’t allowed to go up or down stairs without assistance.  I had kids jumping up to retrieve whatever it was that I thought that I needed.  I had one son who repeatedly yelled, “We have a roller!” whenever he saw me starting to walk somewhere.  (Why he yelled that, I don’t even think he knew.  I had a rocking boot – not a walker with wheels or a wheelchair…).  That was his alarm to let the kids know that they needed to watch out for me.

I certainly didn’t want to be in this position.   I am not a good patient, nor one who willingly asks to be served.   For the last 18 years, the role has been that I am the one taking care of the needs of my children.

I believe that I will forever see little kids within the faces of my children, no matter how old they get.  Therefore, it makes stepping out of myself and seeing glimpses of their adult selves so special. What I saw was reassuring and made me so proud.  These four kids, who haven’t seen me as one in need on a regular basis, stopped their lives to make sure that I was safe.  Even more than that, they went above and beyond to make sure that I was comfortable.  It made me so proud to see their capacity and desire to serve – even if it was me that they were serving.

It was like having a glimpse into the future and being able to exhale a huge sigh of relief…



Filed under Family and faith

3 responses to “Role Reversal

  1. Wow, I read this and thought, “This all sounds sooo familiar!” With all the fun we’ve been having here, I’ve been having to rely on my kids, too. Thankfully, Andy’s going out of town was cancelled, but only because I landed in the hospital! It has been difficult to lean so much on the kids for help. But I am so amazed by how they have been stepping up. It’s good to know we did something right with them, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Leslie

    I hope this will encourage you to ask for help from neighbors and friends. By not asking, we are denied the pleasure of giving to you instead of always receiving.
    With love,

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