There’s this song that I hate. I’ve always hated it because it upsets me to the point where I can’t listen to it without feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt, loss and longing that wraps itself around my heart like a baby boa constrictor.
The song is called 'Cats In The Cradle' which probably won’t ring a bell and neither will the name of the guy who sings it - Harry Chapin. But you’d know it straight away if you heard it.
The chorus is catchy and it belies the bittersweetness of the lyrics which speak of the way the bond between parent and child stretches and frays as children grow up and away.
This is a song that speaks to every person who has a child or was once a child. This is a song that speaks to every person. And it guts me every time I hear it but especially lately because I have found myself at a particularly poignant moment in being both a parent and a child.
A lot is written about the sandwich generation; the people who are impacted by the double whammy of having to care for little kids and ageing parents simultaneously. And by people, I mean women because we know that women do the vast majority of caring within families.
The idea of being sandwiched between the demands of your parents and children speaks to a very real burden of having to split your time and your attention as the needs of others take priority over your own.
I was fortunate enough not to experience this.