Do you remember the day you left your elementary art class with a paper valentine you were itching to give your mom?
Do you remember how she took that red construction paper heart, got a tear in her eye, hugged you close, and then hung it on the fridge?
Do you remember how special Mom made you feel by posting it up so proudly for everyone to see?
We're adults now. Many of us grew cynical along with growing up. Some of us might have even forgotten how to show love to our parents. Some days, all we want is to press rewind and go back to the days when "I love you" slipped off our tongues as easy as "please" and "thank you."
For those of us who have forgotten, here are some practical ways to show your aging parent that you still do love them.
Make a date with them. Plan it in advance so that they can prepare for it too. If you can manage it, make it a nice restaurant. Oh, and make sure they get dessert.
Bring their favorite game and spend a few hours playing it with them.
Send them flowers--or better yet, take the bouquet to them yourself.
Give hugs--lots of hugs. I don't think I have met a resident yet that wasn't glad for a hug.
Listen to them. Their lives have changed drastically since you were a little kid clutching a paper valentine. They enjoy talking about the changes with someone they love.
Say "I'm sorry" when you're wrong. Maybe you didn't call as often as you should have or neglected to visit. "I'm sorry" are two simple words that recognize that you're at fault. Don't waste your time with excuses either. It's enough that you're sorry.
Read to them. Remember all those bedtime stories that your parents read to you? It's your turn now.
Tell them that you love them.
Take them for a drive. Show them the changes in their town and drive them past their old house.
Organize a family reunion. They love to see all of their offspring gathered in one place.
This is just a list to get you started. You'll be surprised how easy it is to show your parent love.