Every once in a while, no matter how old you are, you sometimes need an outlet or a shoulder to cry on. It could be your best friend, a colleague, a sibling or even a stranger. I, as so many others, turn to my parents. But it wasn’t always like that.
Most people are either a mommy’s or a daddy’s child, but growing up I felt like neither one. In my mind, my parents were just two people in the household I could turn to whenever I was in trouble, screwed it up or simply needed advice. They were the M and Q of our headquarters, handing me tools and instructions for whatever mission I was on or trouble I was in. I didn’t pick a side, I didn’t favor either one of them. The thing is, I never asked for much advice, I wasn’t in trouble often and I rarely screwed it up badly. I felt I had some sort of bond with them, but with the emphasis on ‘sort of’. I always wondered if it was my indifference or just the fact I was a nerd who didn’t ask much of her parents that in turn stood in the way of bonding somehow? All the cool and popular kids who were a constant nightmare in school seemed to bond in a way with their folks, so maybe if I had been more of a drama queen or a rebel, would I have had a different relationship perhaps? In other words: does a peculiar childhood equal a deeper emotional bond with your parents?
For years, my friends were paying their weekly visits while I stuck to my monthly, often carefully scheduled, casual drop-bys. What can I say? My parents were busy folks and so was I. Planning had to be done with my digital Moneypenny. Some would ask questions about this – what they considered – unusual phenomenon. I always answered politely explaining that “deeper bonding and regular visitation wasn’t that common and a completely acceptable concept within the family”, while feeling slightly uneasy and secretly being aware it might be a bit off after all.
Lately, as I approached and recently turned the big 3-0, I have found myself speeding up on the long road to deeper bonding with my parents. My old routine turned into weekly visits and phone calls in no time. My parents were happy with this transition, but it boggled their minds, and mine, at the same time. I started to wonder: is it possible to become a parents’ child after so many years? If so, has it got something to do with the fact that the realization of your parents not having eternal life finally kicks in and haunts you as they, and you, get older? All of a sudden, an even bigger effort is made not to miss birthdays, mother’s days, father’s days, Christmases, or any other mandatory days just to make sure you won’t regret it later on when it’s, well, too late.
Sounds like an act of redeeming oneself -or myself – or to salve a guilty conscience, doesn’t it? Maybe it is, but I’d like to look at it from a different perspective. Truth is, there are plenty of others whose roads don’t go up, but way down. Bonds that used to be have faded or have been destroyed completely over time for whatever reason. As I’m catching up, others can’t catch a break. I’ve heard and I’ve seen what it does to those on both sides of the story, and it has been a true eye-opener. It’s one thing to realize it’s never too late, it’s another thing to act on it. Because what if tomorrow actually does die?
This story might get a sequel, but for now: mission accomplished.