We all know our parents will age. This moment of realization, though, still takes us by surprise. Each of us feels differently about it because we all have different relationships built with our parents.

My mother is funny, very funny. She is smart. She is charming, very charming. She and I have had our struggles. She has been challenged by being someone who buys stuff in order to feel happier. It has sometimes consumed her. It has certainly affected my life as well.

Last week, on Wednesday, I got a call that she had fallen and was in the hospital. She doesn’t have any family closer than I am. So I got a sub for two days and off I went two hours down the road. Turns out she had broken six ribs. Ouch.

What struck me most was the expression on her face. She was scared. Getting older can be scary, I think. I like to have control over things and it seems like when you get older you need to let go of your control a bit. This recognition of what was happening to her. This empathy I immediately felt, melted me. I was able to fill her fridge with frozen dinners and V8 (her favorite) and yogurts and fruit. I was able to wash all the sheets in the house and make it cozy. I was able to mother her for a while without feeling the slightest bit resentful.

It was a growing up moment, possibly.