Thursday, February 12, 2009

Life with my parents

My parents are currently on a long visit with my husband and me, and life is full of fun, insight, change…

They have visited us before, but this time is different. Largely because I work from home now, work much less than I used to and, most importantly, do work that I enjoy. So, being around them more, and being happier myself, I’m better able to enjoy their company and learn from the experience of living in a family again, this time as an adult.

Being with my parents for most or all of a day is giving me a clearer picture of myself too – I see, for example, that some days I just seem to wake up impatient, other days I’m relaxed and relate happily and with patience to all those around me. Sometimes I get stressed by work deadlines or other people’s demands on my time; but then, if I stop myself in my tracks and take a few deep breaths, I find myself smiling again. The days I do my meditation, nothing stresses me too much…

Helping my mother regulate her diabetes reminds me to do the things I’m urging upon her: exercise regularly, don’t allow your body to get lazy, eat well and in moderation, meditate, stay calm and happpy…

Helping my parents, both 83, to stay healthy brings me insights I can use in my own healing practice, especially in relation to caring for the elderly. This includes some down-to-earth tips like add a couple of blankets under them for extra padding when you do Reiki; and some more “elevated” ideas :) about leading a meditation session or using transpersonal therapy with older clients.

Because my mother wants to read the Bhagavad Gita with me, all three of us read it together on a regular basis and my husband joins us when he can. This gives me a chance to deepen my own understanding of this ancient Indian spiritual text and to absorb its teachings better. This, combined with the closer look at myself (see para 3 above), means I am better able to apply the teachings to my own life.

Oh and the fun parts. Having friends over more often so that the parents don’t feel isolated – as a result, of course, I’m more social too. I also find myself more open to having families over rather than more formal couples-only get-togethers...

Having lunch with family rather than with colleagues and casual friends (when I worked in an office) or by my lonesome (once I started working from home). Going out to coffee with my parents in the afternoons before getting down to a writing/editing assignment...

The adventure of planning just the right outing for everyone. Something that’s fun for all of us. Where the parents stretch themselves a bit, but don’t have to over-extend themselves by riding up and down escalators all the time, or walking a lot in the warm weather of Manila. If we go to a mall, should I sit them down for a coffee first before taking them to a few shops? Will they enjoy the short walk to that nice restaurant in that pedestrians-only street? And will the nice restaurant be a good enough incentive for the walk to it? Where can we break our journey if we go out of town? Where can we go where we don’t have to negotiate too many steps? Can we seat them in a coffee shop while the husband and I do some more leisurely shopping?

Not having kids, I’ve never really had to think as a family before, only as one of a couple who age-wise and interest-wise are pretty well matched. When I was a kid myself, and lived in a family, I guess my parents did all the planning. I’m quite enjoying doing a major share of it for all of us now.


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and experiences ... brings back memories.

  2. I enjoy reading your posts, because they generally remind me to slow down, take deep breaths and relax once in a while instead of my constant rush. I admire your ability to analyze your relationship with your parents even while you are living it. It is an interesting phase when we become the parents of our parents, isn't it?

  3. I relate so much as my parents too are aging and as I've entered my thirties I listen to my body as well. Stress and high blood pressure are my red flags because the problems run in my family. I'm trying to learn now how to minimize stress, eat healthier, and *yikes* exercise more often.