We grow up believing our parents are invincible, almost superhero like. We know we can go to them for anything, bad or good. That they somehow will heal our wounds and give us the encouragement we need to go back out into the world.
Then one day we become parents. The excitement in their eyes is enough to make you beam with pride. Then you lean on them for a whole new realm of issues. You call them in a panic because your baby has been crying for hours and you don't know what to do. You cry to them that you feel you aren't a good parent and you are ruining your child forever. In return they always lift you up with the knowledge you need and the reassurance that they felt the same way you did. Of course you don't see how they could feel incapable the way you do because in your eyes they were the perfect parents.
But what about the day when you see them hurt and broken? When you can tell in their voice that they need reassurance or encouragement? When they need someone to talk to?
My parents for me have always been rocks. Strong as a fortress. Although some signs have shown of defeat from time to time, never were they shaken. Although there are few things that could make me worry about my parents, I know the one thing they hold dear to their hearts is their family. I saw this when I lost my husband. My parents still my rocks, suffered. I could see the pain in their eyes. As much as they were there for me I knew in their hearts they felt they weren't doing enough. However they were doing everything I needed.
Now I seem to be in the position that my parents were in four years ago. As they watch one of their parents slip into dementia, I can't help but want to take away the pain from them and my Grandmother. I want to hold my mother and tell her everything is going to be okay, like she would me. I want to help, but what is there really one can do. You can help physically by running an errand, taking lunch/dinner to someone, but nothing I do can heal the heart and shield it from the pain.
There comes a time when the roles are reversed and your parents become the ones that need protecting, healing, and words of encouragement. There comes a time when you too want to shield them from the harshness of the world.