|Sally Landry: Tamarinds|
Sunday, June 30, 2013
An old couple explain their role at age beyond 90.
Nonagenarian Male: There’s a string of nieces and nephews come by.
Q: Why do they visit?
Nonagenarian Female: You know why they visit. Una and Fred’s mother died at 40 so I’m her surrogate mother. And Dennis and Catie’s mother died 20 years ago, it’s the same.
Nonagenarian Male: And Jerome and Anastasia, their parents died ten years ago, so they drop by to talk to me as if I were their father.
Nonagenarian Female: And then there are all the grandchildren. And their partners they feel they have to seek our approval for.
Nonagenarian Male: So we cannot go yet. We have responsibilities.
Alloparenting is a system of parenting in which people other than parents substitute for parents. Sometimes grandparents fill in for parents, a.k.a. a “skipped generation” role. But there are also cases such as above where individuals are filling for deceased siblings so nieces and nephews transfer their attentions to aunts and uncles.