Thursday, November 17, 2011

Role Reversal

About 15 years ago, I had a conversation that aroused my curiousity and made a great impact on me. I was talking to an English woman who was visiting NIIT in relation to a project. She was sharing how her mother had recently fallen ill and this had caused a complete role reversal in her relationship with her mother. From a situation where she would depend on her mother for many things, including physical and emotional care, she was now having to provide that back to her. She was sharing that this role reversal was very difficult for her because suddenly she felt she had no one to go to for her troubles.

Upon hearing her speak, I remember thinking that I was far far off from such a role reversal. My dependence on my parents, for emotional and physical support, was only increasing each year. Later, I would now and again stop and check if the role reversal had finally happened for me. Honestly speaking, it didn't and even today I depend more on my mom than she on me.

But yesterday, a role reversal happened. Not between me and my mother as for that woman, but between Atreya, my son, and me.

While talking to him about my day, suddenly I stopped talking and started listening to him. He was talking about the Middle Way and how it worked for him in resolving his crisis. And he related his experience to my situation and explained how I could apply it help myself. For over an hour, I heard him and understood him and believed him.

Yesterday, my son stopped being someone looking towards me for all answers. Yesterday, I stopped being someone who had to have answers for all her children's questions.

This role reversal is liberating and exhilarating!


  1. your Mom became very independent because of your dad's sickness. I learnt it quite late in life and then I became very strong. There was no shoulder available to cry on and I forgot how. But as years go buy, the energy is leeching away, though mental strength is still there but one requires physical strength too to survive. So be prepared to reversal of roll in the near future. a little taste you did get in LHASA.

  2. Mom by Lhasa do you mean the fainting spells and gasping for air, yet clicking pictures and wanting to go on walks? And absolutely not listening to me? That I can handle easily.

    But really, without you what am I?

  3. You are my littlest daughter and close to my heart. Very brave and determined girl. I am proud of you.