There are things we do in life that we not only regret but can’t forgive ourselves for doing them. Well, this is not just a mistake, but my flaw. Like most children, I too adore my parents and am grateful for the way they raised us and gave us a childhood full of love, care, guidance and life lessons. And that’s why I can’t forgive myself for losing patience with them now when they have aged and need us to take care of them. I try hard not to lose my temper or raise my voice, but I am guilty of both.
It happens gradually, but there comes a time in every child’s life when he/she has to switch roles with his/her parents. My parents have health issues and they can get quite stubborn about not consulting the doctor, skip medicines and refuse to go for walks (as advised by their doctor). They argue with me about almost everything, from wearing suitable clothes for an occasion to eating what the doctor strictly said ‘no’ to, from refusing to spend any money on them even if it is for their own comfort, to getting offended if I try to smooth things out for them… I know, I know that they are more experienced than me and they know what’s best for us. But the truth is, they also know what’s best for them and they just don’t do it because they think it will cause us the tiniest inconvenience (so they go ahead and fight with us creating a lot more emotional tension). I sometimes feel they do this for our attention like we did when we were children. Before you go on imagining a ‘Baghban’ like situation of neglected parents and selfish children, let me tell you that we always give them the priority and there is nothing in this world that I wouldn’t do for my parents.
But (and there is a huge BUT here) I really need to develop more patience for this. I know the roles are reversed, but they are still our parents and no matter what we do for them, they need to feel in charge. And that’s what I lack. I have been running everything for years now and I have lost the habit of taking permission for doing things that I know are good for them. I make decisions now, even if it is against their wishes because I feel I know the current world better than them. I don’t get up at 6 am to get in line for a tatkal ticket, I pay an agent to get one. I don’t bargain from the lady who sells vegetables by the road even if my mother thinks I don’t value money. I hire a taxi instead of getting on a bus to take my parents out of the city and get them treated at the best hospital in Delhi without caring about the medical bills because I know my parents deserve the best. I get irritated when I have to explain again and again that the medicines are necessary, that the besan barfi is not allowed due to their diabetes, that they need to eat healthier, that they need to take milk before sleeping, go out for walks, and just relax and let us children handle everything now.
I hate having to argue with them every single time I want to make their life comfortable, fun and full of happiness. There are times when I lose it and end up scolding them or arguing in a high pitch. I regret it as soon as the words leave my mouth, but it is always too late. I’d already hurt them. Then begins the cycle of asking for forgiveness, and everything goes back to normal… until it happens again, and then again. And I detest myself for it. This is something that I can’t forgive myself for. I am striving to control my temper, and practice patience with them just as they did while raising us. I don’t think we were ideal kids, just as they are not ideal parents… in fact, there is nothing ‘ideal’ about anyone. We all have flaws, and we have to deal with them the best way we can to co-exist peacefully. The important thing to remember is that we need to do this with more patience, kindness, and a larger heart.
Cheers to every parent out there. Thanks for doing everything you did for us to make us what we are today. And please remember that we do what we do because we love you and want the best for you, just as you do for us. And do forgive us if we lose it sometimes. After all, you must’ve had those moments too while you were raising us. And do help us forgive ourselves too, because we really need your help with this one. Love you!