My parents' house - the front lawn. Great place to hang out in the evenings.
My parents circa 1998.
Yesterday I spent the whole evening sitting in my parents’ front lawn watching them do some gardening. It was a cloudy evening and my parents loved gardening during the holidays, especially when the kids are around and they could brag about their latest plant addition.
On this particular evening I noticed something. They have aged . I had been too busy growing up for the past 24 years that I forgot to see that they have grown older too. My dad used to be thinner and more sinewy, now he has a belly and tired wrinkles around his eyes. I used to always admire my mom’s hands. She had long skinny fingers and elegant elongated nails. Now they looked different.
No matter how old I get, or how much money I’m making at work, or what kind of hard time I was going through, something remains the same. At that particular evening as I sat there in my parents’ lawn, being in their presence, I realized that I have never felt safer. Everything always feels better when you’re home. Life can be a real shit bag sometimes, but when you’re around people who loves you the most, you know it’ll all be alright. It’s true, you know. My mom pointed out that if you want to find a man, find one who makes you feel safe as much as your parents do. Now that is a hard task.
Sure, I’ve had my fair share of the teen-rebellion phase. But over time I have realized that the key to understand them is that parents are just like us, only older. They were once like me and you. Imperfect, but with good intentions. The only difference between us and them is that they’d have given everything to make sure we’re okay. How much are we willing to do for them?
Every year I make optimistic resolutions. I will be rich. I will have toned legs that would make Jennifer Aniston look bad. I will travel to at least one different country. I will start reading the newspaper. Things like that.
But 2011 turned out to be a significant year for me in terms of life lessons. I think I’ve had it pretty easy for the past 23 years. I had been comfortable. I’ve never really faced anything that was too hard. I’ve always had a place to bounce. On my 24th year (that’s 2011, folks), I learned the biggest lesson so far; you are responsible for your own self.
You may have parents who would always catch you, but the truth is, parents are just humans too. There is only so much that they can do. If you have a spouse, they may empathize, but they’ll never be able to replace you. By the end of the day, it always boils down to just you. You can blame the food, you can blame Lady Gaga, you can blame your next-door neighbor, and heck, you can even blame the technology. But the truth is, whatever happens to you will always, always be up to you.
So this year’s resolution is to – wait for it – have faith in myself.
Gosh, I sound like one of those middle aged women on Oprah.