Change. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, years pass before us and like it or not, nothing stays the same. But some changes are harder to fathom than others.
I consider myself somewhat of a Darwinist: I embrace the thought of “Adapt or Die”. I feel it change is necessary in order to survive. I may not love how tech has seemingly taken over the world, but I realize that I must keep up with it of I will go much the way of the dinosaur. I have to accept that tech is not going anywhere.
But the one change I never saw coming was the role I play in my family. I am older than my sister by almost seven years, so I had the early upbringing as an only child, yet somewhere in first grade there was an addition. I’ve always been the quieter, responsible one, a protector of sorts- when it came to her. But my parents were my parents- they provided and nurtured as best they could. They were in charge.
My Father turned 80 last month, and my Mom will be celebrating her 60th high school reunion next weekend (I’m not supposed to reveal her age…). And they are still mobile. They still have their mental faculties. I am blessed so far that there health remains pretty good. But they are getting older- I can’t deny this.
Last month we went to dinner for my Dad’s birthday: my husband and daughter, my sister, brother in law and niece, my Uncle and my Mom. We went to an iconic New York steakhouse (my Dad’s favorite) which serves its steak dinners family style: big platters of porterhouse and creamed spinach and German fried potatoes in the middle of the table. So when the food is to be shared by the table, you must figure out how much to order. Two steaks for two and two steaks for three? What temperature? How many tomato onion salads? Who wants shrimp?
I watched my parents fumble at ordering food. They were having trouble ordering food at a restaurant we’ve been going to for years. My Father who ran a successful business, my Mother who inserts herself into any situation, were stumbling. My Sister was adding to the confusion by wanting to massively overorder.
I had to take charge.
I had to usurp my parents authority.
This was the first time I envisioned the future of my parents. This was the first time I realized that things are going to change, and my parents may not be able to make their own decisions anymore.
So I told the table- ie my parents- that I was going to do the ordering. I knew how much food we needed. I knew how much steak to get medium vs medium rare. The waiter instantly recognized me as the “go to” person, even though my Father was footing the bill. And though that day was about steak and potatoes, I saw my future in front of me. I was their protector now too.
I never saw that coming. But I need to adapt. It’s a new world order.
And the dinner went off great. We had the exact right amount of food. I made sure my Dad got the pieces of steak he wanted, and I ordered him an extra piece of pecan pie because I knew it wasn’t fair to make him share a piece with all the others. I wanted him to have a good day, because I realize there aren’t many good days left. That’s just life. Things change.