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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Circle of Life: Sometimes It Just Gets Broken

The Circle of Life: Sometimes it just gets broken and there is nothing to do but to deal with it. 

By Circle of Life, I mean where you grow in several stages.  This is MY perception of how it works based on my experiences.  Your results may vary, as they say in the commercial disclaimers.

Stage One:  as child dependent upon your parents to guide and mold you. For a while your parents are as Gods. They are wise, all knowing, the source of comfort and everything else that a young child must have.

Mom and Me
Stage Two: Soon, you grow into a teenager straining to find out who you really are. Ah...the teen years. Teen age angst.  What a trial for the parents.  You go out of ways to assert your independence and to just be contrary to all authority.  There is an ongoing power struggle between teen girls and their mothers, sons and fathers.  At this point you realize that maybe the parental units are NOT perfect or God like.  You've seen the cracks in the facade in some ways.   Perhaps it is the party where someone got a bit too drunk, was having fun and became embarrassing.  Maybe an uncomfortable argument between the parents.  Everything your family does is now worthy of an eye roll or two.

Stage Three: Thankfully we grow out of that teenager stage.  You go out on your own.  College, maybe. Get a job and an apartment of your own.  Move to another town. Now you begin to realize that life is more than being a child or an obnoxious teen dependent.  The bills keep coming in and you suddenly realize that ....Woah.....someone has to clean the bathroom, change the toilet paper roll and buy the food and all that stuff. This means I have to keep going to my job! and I can't just spend all my money on fun things.  Maybe that home and family thing was worthwhile.  Still figuring out who you are you experiment will all kinds of things. You might occasionally think about your parents and the fact that they were young at one time and remember some of their stories, if your parents were of a mind to share their own youthful indiscretions.   But mostly, it us all about you and your new exciting life.

Somewhere between stage two and three,  you discover SEX.  You are sure that it has never been this way for anyone before.  You are special..... THEN suddenly it dawns on you that your parents have had sex too.   At least once or twice, depending on how many siblings you have.  Eeeewwww!  This may require that I rethink my views of my parents and think about why they dropped us off at the theater every Saturday so we kids could spend the afternoon watching bad B movies......  Naaah.

Stage Four:   The real relationship stage.  You find a boy or girl that you like a lot and you discover that the 'way of love' is not all that easy.  It might work out and turn into marriage or you might find out that it is just a way of woe.  Suddenly, your parents seem to be more understandable.  Those arguments and quirks that they exibited that were so embarassing to you, make some sense.  You might be able to confide in your mother or father and even ask for advice.  They aren't Gods like they were when you were small, but.....somehow as you have gotten older, they seem to have gotten so much smarter. Amazing how that can happen.

Stage Five:  Marriage and children.  If you manage to make it past stage four, you are now married and have children of your own.  There is a moment where it dawns on you, perhaps when you are changing diapers or getting up yet again in the middle of the night to feed the baby or walk the floor at 2 am trying to console your colicky child.....WOW.  My mother/father did this same thing for me.!!! And I took it all for granted.   As a new mother or father, you will now be able to reach out to your parents for advice and ask them.  How did you handle this problem.  What was it like for you?  (They THEY are now Grandparents and working their way through their own Circle of Life.) 

Now, you can talk woman to woman or man to man.  You parents are morphing into friends and confidants.  People.  Not just parents, but people who have pasts, likes, dislikes.  As your own children grow and you deal with the intricacies of a marital relationship, this friendship grows ever more strong.

Stage Six:  Finally, you have gotten your children through their teen years and you also remember just what a little prick or bitch you were to your own parents.  (I apologized to my father at that point.) Your children are in Stage Three.    Ahhhh.  At last. The empty nest.  Free at last free at last.  Adults without young children and you can do the things you put off while raising the family.  Travel. Go to resorts and experience fine dining.  Sleep IN on Sunday and walk around the house in your underwear without a snotty teenager rolling eyes at you.   
Three Generations

Stage Seven:  Finally.  Grandchildren of your own to spoil.  Now you are the valued source of information.   

Somewhere in these last stages, you begin to realize the mortality of your parents and yourself.  Life isn't eternal as you think it is in your teen and young adult years.  Friends, family are dropping like flies and you realize that time is precious.  You'd better spend as much of it as you can with your parents if they still exist and your children and grandchildren before the circle stops spinning..

Such is the circle of life.  Wheel within wheels.  We are all on the circle at various points.  But....sometimes the circle breaks as it did for my mother and for the rest of us.