How can you love your aging parents well? Quite simply, spend time with them.
On most mornings, I stop and have coffee with my mom. It’s on my way to work, and I usually stay about 30-45 minutes. We talk a little bit about friends she’s heard from and what she saw on television. She’ll want to know how the kids are, especially since we’re expecting the arrival of our first grandchild in August (her second great grandchild). I will have heard most of the stories before.
But when I was a kid, I probably told her the same stories over and over again, too.
Having said that, coffee with my mom has taken a little getting used to. For one thing, I’m a morning person. What I mean by that is I like to get up and start working early in the morning. I’ve found that those first 3-4 hours in the morning, before I talk to anyone, are the most productive and creative time of my day.
Now, I’m having coffee with Mom.
I’m not complaining. She’s funny and strong—and opinionated. Our conversations are never boring. But I’ve had to adjust my day and how I work in it.
Why? Because my mom is that important to me. Since I’ve moved my mom to Nashville, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who are dealing with older parents. How do you do it well? What’s most important to them?
I’m not an expert, but here’s what I’ve learned. What our parents want from us—indeed what I want from my own sons—is time. My mom wants a little time with me. Well, she wants a lot of time…but that’s another blog.
So, how do you love your aging parents well? Spend time with them. Tell the old stories. Listen again to theirs. Tell them you love them. Just sit there.
Time is the new money. It’s the most precious thing we have. Don’t waste it on trivialities. Save a little for mom and dad. It’s the only thing they really want, and in truth, we owe it to them.
Besides, I’m trying to teach two boys how to treat their old man when he’s too old to come to them. Chris and Craig, are you guys paying attention?