The eight seasons of parenthood

Pla·teau Par·ent n. 1. One who has reached the level ground between having raised children to adulthood and having to parent his or her own parents. 2. One who lives in an emotional and physical state of being that allows a panoramic view and new perspective of the first six seasons of parenthood and a first glimpse of the future season as aged parents live through it. 3. One who harbors the expectation of others that life on the plateau is now level, calm, and serene. 4. One who has arrived at a sense of having accomplished a steep climb and is able to enjoy the view, given the independence of the adult children. 5. Through grandparenthood, one who is one step physically and emotionally removed from the responsibilities of raising a new generation as adult children begin their first seasons of parenthood.

Re·bound´er n. 1. Someone who springs or bounces back after hitting or colliding with something (in this case, the last stage of life's health problems, struggle to remain independent, and adjustment to the need for care). 2. One who must recover on a repeated basis from depression, health problems, or disappointment. 3. Athlete who retrieves and gains possession of the "ball" as it bounces off the backboard or rim (in this case, one who fights for position to get attention and recognition from adult children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren). 4. One who holds the position of waiting for family members to make the caregiving play as part of the family team. 5. One who expects to be cared for by his or her adult children. 6. One who lives with the public expectation that one's adult children will make caregiving plays. 7. Rebounders fall into three categories: Proud Independents, who struggle to maintain their initial family position and seek to prove their original playing capabilities; Humble Sub-missives, who take a passive role in which they expect to be included in the family game but don't demand to be on the roster; and Aged Sages, who strive to maintain their independent position but ask for help when needed and are grateful for the assist.

 

Copyright © 2000 Barbara C. Unell

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