Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Common Bonds

I had the opportunity to attend a college reunion this past weekend. Before I go any farther, I do need to point out that I was an undergraduate at UT Austin from 1978-1982. (I know that might shock those of you who think I am much younger than that).

So, many of the people I saw last weekend I have not seen in 30 years or more. Mostly everyone was a little grayer and/or wrinkled. A lot weighed a little more than they did 30 years ago, and a few weighed considerably less than they did 30 years ago. Amazingly, we've all pretty much grown up and become a decidedly respectable lot, with spouses, children, mortgages, good jobs, and still doing oodles of volunteer work, which is what brought us together 30 years ago in Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.

I also discovered another common denominator with many of my former school mates this weekend--many of us care for our aging parents. I heard variations throughout the weekend, "I moved back to Texas to take care of Mom" or "My in-laws had to move in with us" or "I had to put my Dad in assisted living because he has Alzheimer's."

It put the article from a couple of posts ago in even greater perspective--we are an often silent and unknown group. Employers don't often recognize us, even our friends don't always know the pressure we face, when we are pulled to the future by our children, nieces and nephews, and yet the needs of our parents keep us firmly rooted in the here and now.

I salute all of you who do this work, and now that we've found each other after all these years, I know that we'll support each other in this latest endeavor, just like we all supported each other 30 years ago through boy/girlfriends and break-ups and all the travails of young adulthood.

1 comment:

  1. There is a community of caring out there that we often know nothing about. One of the people who couldn't make the reunion was my fraternity big brother, and he is also caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer's. It seems that the older we get the more we have in common, and we want to reach out and help old friends who are going through these challenges. Kim, thank you for your insights.