Monday night I went to see The Dixie Chicks in concert at The Hollywood Bowl- it couldn’t have been a more perfect night. My kids were with me, a rare treat to have them both together at something more than just dinner. The venue is a favorite, the weather was perfect, the Chicks were giving their last concert of the tour and they didn’t disappoint. It was a sold out event, every one of the more than seventeen thousand seats was filled. At the concert’s end, not one person got up to leave, everyone chanting for a good five minutes for more, before the Dixie Chicks came out again to play an encore. And when it was over, really over, after all the clapping, the cheering and adulation, a huge mass of people got up to leave.
My son reached out and took my hand. He took my hand in his in the same way I have taken his, maybe a thousand times before, gathering it in mine to keep him safe, to keep him close, but this time it was my son taking my hand leading me through the thick sea of thousands all going in the same direction, a enormous herd of people making their way out of the Bowl. My son held my hand and guided me, never letting go until we got to his car.
A car, full of his friends, waited a few blocks from the congestion of the Hollywood Bowl while my son stayed with me waiting for my Uber to arrive. He could have left me there to wait, his friend was waiting too, the two of us having taken an Uber to the concert from opposite directions, but my son waited with me and when my Uber driver pulled up he double checked to make sure it was mine, and then opened the door for me and told me to text when I got home.
He did and said all the things I have said and done a thousand times before. It was an amazing role reversal that filled me with joy. The simple caring he showed without forethought, without prompting, it was a simple act of love.
It was the same joy I felt when my daughter, seeing me on the ski slope, frozen, halfway down the mountain, side-stepped up the mountain, a good hundred feet or so, to see what was the matter. When she found me paralyzed with fear, the afternoon ice suddenly making the slope I’d skied all morning seem an impossible task, she comforted me, talked to me, assured me I could make the run down the mountain, that she would stay by my side. She comforted me in the same way I would have comforted her as a little girl. Later, sensing I was embarrassed by my episode, she never made mention of it, never belittled me or made fun. She took care of me.
It is a moment as a parent you never forget – that switch from being the caregiver to the receiver. It is a moment that fills a parent’s heart with joy, to see your child give to you what you have always given to them.
It lets me know that when I truly am old, truly in need of caring, of being looked after, my children will be there for me, caring for me, as I have cared for them. It is a comfort and joy.