There was a time and a place when my parents were that impenetrable force standing behind me. I never questioned whether they would protect me. And I never questioned if they loved me. I remember looking up to my parents, thinking they were old and strong and could do anything if they wanted. They were there, they were always there. I never questioned their presence. I never needed to.
It's strange. As you grow older, you don't take into consideration that your parents are aging as well. Each birthday that passes, each year a new stepping stone in your life, you strive for something; to be sixteen and drive, to be eighteen to vote, nineteen to drink, twenty-one to gamble in Vegas. You have your sights set on these things and you fail to notice, your parents don't have these hurtles anymore. Your parents are simply watching you pass your hurtles. Maybe they long for grandchildren, or for you to be out of the house, but you don't take that into mind. They just are. And you assume they always will be.
Getting older is a funny sort of thing. One day you turn around and you realize, your parents are people. They are people who have sacrificed a lot for your existence. And, like my parents at times, there is a possibility that they didn't do things right, that they fucked up...but still, they gave you life and for the most part they ended up working to ensure you were fed, clothed, roofed. And then you see them in a new light. You see them as people with interests, hobbies, and dreams they put on hold. You see them as people who want to be happy and contented. And you entertain the possibility that you may have derailed their plans.
And then the worry starts sinking in. Out of no where, one day, you're ass deep in worry and it seems as though the axis of the world has shifted. It doesn't revolve around them worrying about you anymore, them coddling you, them cleaning your wounds or nursing your broken heart. Suddenly, you're the one calling them to check in, calling to make sure they're okay. You're the one picking up the phone to receive a frightening call that 'some thing's wrong' and you're rushing off in your car in a blind panic. You're the one demanding, "where were you last night, I called at ten and no one answered." You're the one asking if they are eating properly. If they are getting enough sleep. If they've taken their medication.
The fortress of parental guidance wavers. Things change. And you realize they aren't protecting you anymore, you're trying to protect them-from the world, from sickness, from themselves. The stronghold they once represented crumbles and frays around the edges.
Then, when you least expect it, you realize...you've grown up.