A space where we both have our say

I want to do for you as you did for your mother,

But we both want to do it our way.

With love and respect for each other,

And space where we both have our say.

 

You did without reservation,

Without care for yourself – space to grow.

It was the way for some of your generation,

And I watched you struggle much harder, when it was time to let go.

 

It’s hard if we let go of hobbies,

And forget the feel of space.

To live in a home that’s more empty,

And to have to learn to find our new ‘place’.

 

I don’t want to face that situation,

And you don’t want that for me.

So we’re working on reorganisation,

To stay separate when we’re close, and be a family.

 

We’re learning to set boundaries,

Be a new kind of family.

That lets go of old traditions and ways,

That just don’t go with the life of today.

 

We’re on this journey together,

You and me, for the time that we get.

We’re in this together, it won’t be forever,

So we better make space, plan ahead.

 

I need to be there for you like you were for your mother,

But we both want to do it our way.

With love and respect for each other,

And space, where we both have our say.


We’re all in the same boat, my friends and I. Our parents raised us to stand up for ourselves and expect a lot more from our lives. So, we’re venturing into a world that’s very unlike that of our mothers, as we realise our parents need our effort in order to be independent as they grow older.

Many of us have seen our mothers struggle a lot more than they should have, because they gave up everything to care for their elders. And we want more. We want to do for our elders without losing ourselves like many of our mothers did. And it’s hard. We’re battling parents who did for us by doing less for themselves, and often struggle to accept that it’s a different time now.

There are days when things go smooth and times when doing little things that are necessary to make it easier for us to be there for our parents are a huge battle. So we’re learning new skills, as are our parents. Or at least trying to, in fits and starts.

This is the first of my poems about this journey that most women face, as they tend to be the primary support system for the elderly in most Indian families. I hope to write some more later.


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