The Water Flows Down

“Mom, do NOT make dinner. I won’t be hungry when I arrive,” the son had said in a clear text to his mother at 8.30 PM. Despite the message and in spite of knowing that her son would arrive home only at 10.30 PM, she had a whole dinner ready for him by the time he walked into the house. He didn’t eat the dinner she made. She chafed at his attitude.

I doubt I’d have done any differently from the mother; I may have made fewer dishes, perhaps, but I’d have felt the same minor hurt. The point I want to make is that sons and daughters rarely try to understand why their parents go on overdrive when it comes to nurturing them even well into their twenties.

For as long as parents continue to make children, they will go overboard and be blessed in return with spondylitis, heartburn and anxiety (with mild depression) for having made their children’s lives as comfortable as they possibly could. They will run to the store at midnight to buy poster boards for a project due in the morning. They will drive all the way back home from the airport (and back again) to secure a forgotten laptop that the child left charging where it could never have been seen, even by Google Earth. They will stay up for their son or daughter even when they turn 25 because the roads are not well-lit and who knows what’s out there?

The Chinese have a saying that conveys this eloquently: “The water always flows down.” Parents will serve their children, who will fuss over their children who will, in turn, cluck over theirs. That is the way of the world.

All we ask, kids, is for you to sit back, relax and enjoy the love until you cannot lean back anymore. Fast forward: Your child is on the potty. It’s a big job, this childrearing. And it’s a bad, stinky world out there.