Monday, January 2, 2012

My Parents are People?!

Does everyone remember coming to this conclusion? Like the time you realized your parents exist outside of just being your parents? People have said they've always known, but I don't think they have. There are many years in our lives where our parents exist (in our little minds) purely to cater to us. I mean, I knew that my mom's favorite color was orange and that my dad liked Jeff Foxworthy. That my mom loved that Lindz called my gramps "Pama" (after seeing a picture and being told it was grandma and grandpa; super cute actually) and that "In the Living Years" made my dad tear up; but I didn't know anything about them as people or why those things mattered to them. It's really only been in the past 3 or 4 years where I've started to think of events and actions more in terms of them having actual personalities. 

For example, I was sad when my grandma Josie sad as an 8-year-old seeing snow for the first time and with Christmas looming can be. Only in the last few years, though, have I seen that time as my mom losing her mother; and it paints the grief and the situation surrounding it in an entirely different light for me now than it did when I was 8. I consider it with a completely different world view and I see how devastating it was. My sister was born in August of 1999; for you math whizzes, that means my mom had probably JUST found out she was pregnant when it happened. I didn't know all that. I was a naive 8 year old. I'm not blaming my childhood self, but it's hard to not feel bad about not feeling bad, know what I'm saying? 
My mom loved that my sister called him Pama because she loved her mom and it was a way to have her memory around even if Lindz didn't actually do it on purpose.

Take my dad, now: he told me the story of when his dad died a bunch of times throughout my formative years. In a nut shell, his dad had a heart attack and went in the hospital. They spoke on the phone one night (my dad in Florida, his in New York) about his dad coming for a visit and everything. That night his dad had another heart attack and was gone. Just like that. Here today, gone tomorrow. I knew the story. I knew it was sad; but, again, only recently have I picked apart how jarring that must be. My dad and I used to have big, bickering fights (because we're SO alike) sometimes right before bed. No matter how mad I was, I HAD to get out of bed and go say goodnight to him. I never knew why. I think now maybe it had to do a little with knowing his story; I didn't ever want the last interaction I had with my dad to be screaming at him. I just can't fathom having someone just be gone and I think now I'm better equipped to empathize with that story when it gets retold, something I never would have fathomed being a youth. 
My dad tears up when "In the Living Years" comes on because it's about not seeing eye-to-eye with your father when you're young and when he'd grown up enough (to realize what I'm talking about realizing) he didn't get that time he thought he had to get to know his dad as a person.

I know I got a little heavy and talked about death; I hope my parents won't mind me sharing their stories. This is just something I think about often and sometimes express out loud, but never in detail of how I reached that conclusion...and yeah I cried while writing this post (I might have a soul. Don't tell)

Can anyone else remember when they figured this out? What prompted the realization?

 In the Living Years in case you don't know it. (Don't push play, dad!)

1 comment:

  1. I am still pretty sure that my parents are cyborgs.

    (Your post was really well-written and heart felt.)