Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Showing Appreciation to Your Parents by Having Conversations that Matter

My fifty-seven and sixty-one year olds just announced that they signed up for Amazon Prime and are binge watching, wait for it, Grey’s Anatomy. Whaaat?

This was after they had finished Downton Abbey in just a couple of nights. A week living their lives as two twentysomethings, my dad complained of a sprained neck. It was then that I learnt, they had been glued to their television set way past their bedtimes!

“You need to cut down your TV-watching time, folks! Just two episodes in a day. Okay?” I said sternly.

Later, my sister and I, amused remembered the innumerable times the same dialogue had been aimed at us when we were in school.

How the tables have turned!

Both my parents retired early this year. While Mom took an early retirement from being a school teacher, Dad completed 40 years of service in the public sector. We flew to India in April this year to celebrate their new innings. It was a special yet emotional time for the family, leaving behind office colleagues, the company housing - was like leaving behind a part of you. In their farewells, the many speeches made by their peers and people surrounding them, their impact in the community, the love and reverence for my parents shined through. All I felt was gratitude, hearing words of appreciation for my parents.

When I was called on the stage to say a few words for Dad, I was emotional and slightly nervous. My husband had witnessed my tears earlier, on our way to Dad’s office. Perhaps it was just the pride and love I had in my heart for Mom and Dad, that was pouring out. I calmed my nerves and the words flowed...

I ended my speech with these words, “We are four best friends in the house; Mom and Dad you have been our pillars of strength. Thank you and here’s to you! Onto your retired life, find new magic, follow your passion, and focus on your health. Love you.”

Living abroad, not hundreds but thousands of miles apart from your parents and family is not easy. The anxiety of being away in times of their illness or any emergency is very real. I’ve written about this in the past, how I’ve struggled to come to terms that I can’t immediately be with them in times of need. We are several hours of travel time away.

But the one thing we can give them is time, our conversations. Connect with them, understand them, especially as they navigate and find their way in this new life after retirement.

As Dad was nearing his retirement, and till today as they settle in a new city, adopting responsibilities towards their ageing parents, I try to be deliberate in my conversations. I was there to ask my father about his investment decisions and planned sources of retirement income, probed him to think how we would spend his life after retiring, what passions they would perhaps want to pursue, health choices they should make, where would they stay and other life priorities - I try and ask the important questions, plant an idea, then step back and bring it up later if required.

As children, our duty lies beyond materialistic happiness. It is important to have the important conversations, ask them about their plans and concerns and be there for any moral support they might need. It is important to listen, even the unsaid.

We all in our little ways, show appreciation towards our parents, tell them how much we love them.
Having conversation that matter is also as important. It’s your way of showing involvement; it helps deepen your relationship with parents and reconnect, as you both evolve in the different stages of lives.

So, tell me do you speak to your parents about their plans and future, and have the real talk?

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  1. This is such a sweet dedication for the two most precious people in your life.

    Yes, it is important for us to stay connected with them at a deeper level and always have their back come what may.

    Your parents look lovely and may god bless them with a long, happy, abundant life. I'm so glad they have been bitten by the "binge watching" bug, btw. :)

    Happy Holidays, Aditi and a Dazzling New 2019.

  2. This is such a sweet post Aditi! It's sounds like you have such a close relationship with your parents which is lovely! Wishing them a very happy retirement enjoying their TV series, he he, and hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! Sending you lots of love <3 xx

    Bexa |