Milestones add purpose to our cycle of life

Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 06:47 PM.

This month is a month of milestones for me. We all experience them, but it’s interesting that so many milestones are occurring in such quick succession: all of them — many of them big ones — occurring in a one month’s period of time. Allow me to recount a few of them for you in the hope that they may cause you to reflect on several that may have occurred in your lives, too.

Ah the milestones! They help us to define our lives. Events that happen in succession — beginnings, special occasions, plannings, ends — they help add order to the jumble of minutes, hours, days, and years that comprise the puzzle pieces of our lives. They depict the circle of our lives.

Milestone number one this month: our youngest child — a son — is to be married in Leesburg, Va. Typically, at least in my experience as a parent raising both sons and daughters, his sisters were “born older.” They married younger. They were ready to start adulthood sooner. They were more mature from the beginning.

But he’s caught up and is marrying a wonderful girl. I remind him often how fortunate he is to have met her and to have won her love. I encourage him to often remind her of this fact, too.

While we’re gaining a daughter and not losing a son, our youngest child being married — even though he’s a bit behind his sisters — is an introspective, even a little bittersweet, but an exceedingly happy milestone event in our lives.

Milestone number two: Both my wife and I are dealing with elder parent issues of health and loss of parental independence this month. There has been a role reversal in our relationships as parents and children. We children were in many ways the dependent individuals until now. Today our parents, in a manner of speaking, have taken on some of the roles of the dependence of children as their independence has waned. While we came to them for advice even years after leaving the “nest” and striking out on our own, now our parents come to us for advice.

I don’t mean to overstate the situation because we are blessed that our parents are still with us here in our worldly lives and still have — to one degree or another — most of their mental (if not their physical) abilities. But both sets of parents’ physical and mental abilities are on the downhill slide. Their ends, inconceivable as it seemed even just a few years ago, are now in sight.

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