Over the years, many people have asked why the title of my book is Raising A Parent-A “How To” Guide to Survival? So, in case you too are wondering, let me explain with the following story.

The day we left the hospital, I took the “mandatory” wheelchair ride to the car. You were allowed to hold babies on your lap back then, so the aide waited until I was comfortably seated before handing my son to me. My husband shut the car door and walked around to the driver’s side of the car. There I was, all alone with this beautiful sleeping baby, while the proud father put my suitcase in the trunk and thanked the waving nursing staff for all their help.

Between the time my husband shut the car door and the time it took him to get around to the driver’s side… the most unbelievable panic set in! It was the first time I had any idea about the personal responsibility I had taken on. All of a sudden, after years of planning and nine months of waiting, it finally dawned on me that whether this little human being was breathing or not…was my responsibility!!!! What did I get myself into? Was it too late to give him back? Now what?

The fact that he not only survived under my care, but also flourished into an incredible adult, still amazes me. I rose to the occasion and surprised everyone, including the Baby Nurse who talked her way into staying on another week. She told my husband that I refused to bathe the baby, for fear he’d drown in the sink! Yeah, so what’s your point? Needless to say, one child was all I ever wanted!

That infamous day, leaving the hospital with my bundle of joy, was not all that different from “day three” following my mother’s massive stroke. The Social Worker wanted me to help her plan the rest of my mother’s life! “What are you going to do with her now that she’s sick enough to need full time care, but…not sick enough to die?” she asked. What I heard was, “Congratulations…It’s a girl!”

Next month I want to take a closer look at some of the early warning signs. Who is the “parent” and when did the roles really reverse?

I’ll give you a hint. I believe that “early warning” signs start very early in life… the child’s life that is! Maybe even right after it’s born for that matter. I can remember helping to make adult decisions as far back to when I was about seven years old. If you have any thoughts or questions on the subject, please send me an e-mail and I’ll try to include them in my next column.

Author's Bio: 

Jill Interland Press has become an expert on the subject of “Role Reversal.” Since her mother suffered a massive stroke more than 10 years ago, she has been interacting with other adult children who have also moved into the last phase of parenting. She has conducted extensive research and investigative interviews with “parents” from around the world. In addition to her writing, she serves as Vice President on the Board of “Next Generation,” at the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged.