Updated: May 11, 2020
The relationship we have with our parents is probably the most vacillating connection we have with any other person throughout the course of our lives. We go through stages of admiring and needing them to neglecting and leaving them.
They’ve happily played all the roles: the caretaker, the devotee, the knower-of-all-things, the coach, the discipliner and the overly rash. They willfully sign up for any role they’re given and do their best in fulfilling their duty as the loved or the forgotten.
For such tough shoes to fill, they don't usually complain about being the punching bag for our temper tantrums as kids, awkward discoveries through puberty and fervent rights of passages we endure as growing teens.
Here are the seven stages we’ve all been through with our parents, until we’ve (hopefully) reached the stage where our parents have only one role to play: the receiver of complete gratitude for all they’ve sacrificed and done for us throughout our lives.
When we were babies, all we knew were those hovering faces above us, murmuring and giggling in funny, high-pitched voices, happy as ever to just sit and stare at us.
As ecstatic as our parents were to focus their thrilling hearts on us, we were just as enamored to be the center of attention to such proud and adoring nurturers.
Our entire world revolves around them. Our day doesn’t begin until we’re doused with kisses and falling asleep isn’t an option without our favorite story or special tuck-in ritual.
Mom and dad are jack-of-all-trades: the mathematician, the mad scientist, the award winning writer, and the wise historian. They teach us unforgettable lessons as our personal life coaches and also coach our sports teams, too.
Let’s not forget to mention the anomaly of how they know how to fix any collapsed appliance in the house or how to make our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just a little extra peanut-buttery.
Life’s delicacies are no longer hour-long recesses or game night with our parents, but rather the uncommon morning we wake up without a pimple on our forehead.
The world flaunts its ugly head and we begin to question how much mom and dad really know after all. New friends replace our parents as our sources of truth and guardians of our most coveted secrets.
Mom and dad feel the ache of realizing we’ll no longer run to the door when they arrive home from work anymore.
It’s official; our parents really don’t know anything after all. Our conversations consist of a handful of words, grumpily exchanged on our morning car rides to school.
One weekend we’re rebels, throwing parties in our yards, and the next we’re martyrs, outraged for being punished while all of our friends are out having fun at “the party of the year.”
First day away at college
Mom and dad have just left after packing up all our belongings, shopping for college life’s bare necessities and rushing us to our dorm room extra early to have first dibs on the best bed.
As we sit there alone, absorbing our new surroundings, it hits us that what we’ve waited for all throughout high school, to be on our own, is finally here - except it feels more bittersweet than we anticipated for.
Our first phone call is to mom and dad, already on the road driving home, just to tell them we love them and how much we are going to miss them.
Graduates, entrepreneurs, artists, shakers and teachers – it’s our turn to put on many hats and discover who we are.
As we fumble through careers, move into our own apartments and meet potential spouses, it all comes clambering to the surface just how much of who we are is owed to the people who were our number one fans throughout it all.
The people who loved us more than we thought we could be loved, who forgave us time and time again for all of our mistakes and who never once gave up on believing in us even when we lost faith in ourselves.
Moms and dads, the two most important people in our lives – the infinite givers, the unconditional lovers and the ones who sacrificed the most to bring us to where we are today.