Full Circle: The Changing Role of Parents


As a kid, I thought my parents knew everything. They were my entire world and I wanted to spend all of my time with them. My mom was the prettiest woman I knew. She was infinitely cool. She wore makeup and did her hair. She painted my nails and let me wear her jewelry and shoes. 

As a teenager…

my mom was my best friend. I told her about crushes, heartbreaks and friends, and we would make dinner together. (Maybe not together, so much as I would sit on the counter and fill my belly with chips.) We butted heads on things, but overall, my parents were still very much the center of my world. They drove me to every activity and sport I wanted to try; they encouraged my new interests. They then soothed me when they didn’t work out. 

As a young adult…

My parents were no longer the center of my world. They gave me all the tools I needed to be in the world. We were still close. But they weren’t my sole support anymore. They encouraged and celebrated my marriage. They shared my joy in welcoming babies into the world. They have supported me in every stage of life. I know how lucky I am to have parents that have held my hand through every stage of my life.

The past few years…

Our relationship has shifted again. A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He is doing really great; he handled chemo like a champ and would come eat lunch after treatment. My 3-year-old would chant ‘chemo day’ because she loved getting to see my parents!

This summer my grandma (my dad’s mom) passed away. She was 94. Her passing motivated my parents to move. They wanted a home with less maintenance and fewer stairs. Their new home is beautiful and about 15 minutes from their previous one. I have been helping them once a week. My parents are beyond grateful for the help. And I’m so grateful for time with them. There are 19 people in our family, so individual time with my parents is rare.

Typically, I bring my three children and they hog all the grandparent time (as they should!). I like that they have asked my opinion on decorating and help hanging photos. I’ve come a long way since decorating my bedroom with Abercrombie and Fitch bags and boy band posters, held up with gum. I love that I’ve been able to give them a little support since they’ve always supported me!

I am going to take full advantage of time with them…

I don’t want to wait until something catastrophic happens and I dwell on missed days. No one knows when the next phase is coming, but I’m not going to enter a new one thinking I wasted time with the two people who molded me into the person I am.


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