[Edited post: This was one of the few posts I made that, upon much later review, I thought stood up fairly well. I have edited out some less-relevant text, but the post remains essentially the same as when it was originally published.]
The ongoing revelation that our parents are no longer invincible and omniscient has been unsettling. It wasn't that nobody thought it would happen on a long enough timeline. It's just that with our technology-driven lives, later marriages, long lifespans, and seemingly eternal youth, the point in time at which their vincibility would manifest seemed like it was scheduled to happen in the indistinct and infinite future. You know, the eternal later, the blessed time in which chores get done, the drains get cleaned out, and we finally finish writing our novels.
It's cold comfort to imagine that a mere three generations ago, my parents would be dead by now, and I would have about fifteen years of remaining life expectancy, assuming peacetime conditions. I would also have spawn in their pre-teens, and if that isn't a thought which sends dread through your synapses, you haven't been paying attention.
Knowing that the moments I have with my folks have truly taken on the aspect of finiteness has made me wish I had done more with the thousands of days I squandered in my youth, engrossed in my distractions while my parents quietly looked on and watched me grasp and grow. I suppose there's nothing for it - my own children will no doubt treat me to a veritable concert of sighing and eye-rolling when I try to spend quality time with them. "Tide after tide will flow and recede, leaving life to go on as it was."