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Rated: 18+ · Essay · Experience · #798308
I walk a ragged fence of rules, ever changing.
"Because you're mine, I walk the line . . . ." Johnnhy Cash is wailing in my head, this quiet winter afternoon. The air seems so especially clear and crisp on a sunny winter day. Ideas and concepts seem clearer too.

In the phrase, "Because you're mine," "mine" indicates some kind of ownership in the relationship. My mom, my daughter, my brother, insinuates some kind of ownership in the relationship.

It's that ownership that makes you, either the child or the parent, "walk the line." It seems to work the same way in love relationships, like that which Johnny had for June. Perhaps it's a universal.

A parent and child develop rules for behavior amongst themselves in the family unit. In the youth's early years, parents set the rules. By adolescence adjustments are gained for the youth's benefit, by proof of responsibility. That's the theory at least, just as an American cultural generalization. It applies to most everyone I've known.

This concept turns on its head when parents get older. The concept is still very much there, but the give and take of responsibility, "owenship" of the knowledge between right and wrong, permitted and not, and how this matter is dealt with between parent and child, can play havoc with a deteriorating mind and body. It's difficult for the adult child too.

Just the way we children had feelings when we got grounded, these parents of ours have feelings too. It's just backwards now. How the Baby Boomer interacts with parents in declining health can make or brake their aspect on life, their will to live.

This emotional gray area is hell for parent and child. Nobody likes to be told what to do.

First, you don't let a parent eat all the candy they want if they've become diabetic. They have other vices, these golden yeared, gray haired generation of "our" collective parents.

How do we, previously rebellious youth, become the parents to our parents?

From my experience, what goes around comes around. It would be appropo not to repeat mistakes parents made on us. But can we do otherwise?

Whatever philosophy we live by, our parental units were undoubtedly responsible for germinating in some way. Nevertheless, when they get back what they gave, sometimes they don't like it.

Where does that leave the responsible adult child, admonished and rebuffed by the parent?
"Because I said so" is undoubtedly one of the worst reasons.

Unfortunately, it comes to that at some point, and it's emotionally explosive for both parent and adult child.
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