I have returned to my parents home. I have moved all my books, clothing, artwork, half knitted scarves and various kitchenware from my cozy space in Northampton to my parents’ living room floor. From the floor, the stuff has moved to the couch and into large bins and smaller bins that are stacked one on top of each other in the hallway of the narrow second floor hallway. I have inserted myself back into the home where I grew up in a way that feels strange and strangely familiar.
And to their credit, both my parents have let me slide back into their world without a fuss. In our family puzzle, my own multi-sided piece fits back in with minimal wedging of grooves and notches. I would be lying if there weren’t disagreements at the dinner table or prolonged silences in the car. I do not pretend that our little yellow house is absolute bliss from sunup to sundown. But I appreciate the extent to which both my mother and father have gracefully accepted the immediate and lasting presence of their unemployed 24 year old daughter back under their roof. [And if they have begun the countdown, it’s 3 weeks and 5 days.]
How often to we treat those closest to our hearts with indifference and exasperation? The rivers of tolerance and grace, which flow from us so willingly with strangers and acquaintances, run dry as soon as we step over the WELCOME mat of our own homes. Those who deserve the most kindness and love seem to pull the short stick and our shorter temper. The people I care the most about are the people who accept me for my imperfect but truest self. But is my truest self unkind and condescending? I think not.
So I’ll try to take a deep breath before I speak. Treat my parents and my loved ones with the respect they deserve instead of taking their love and support for granted. Transcend daily disagreements. This continued process is one that I am working on every day. Every. Single. Day.
Thanks Mom and Dad.
My parents dropped my car off today, complete with new radiator hose and spare keys. We sat in my living room, judged one another, and danced around the restaurant choice for the evening. I don’t care. Where do you want to eat? With Korean as the winning option, the Tsukada clan hopped in the car and sloshed through the light drizzle into town. Conversation picked up, the eyes stopped rolling and we settled into our normal routine of recent news and internal thoughts. After a quick ice cream stop, my father revved up the car and before I knew it, I was back on my porch waving goodbye into the darkness. It was a typical evening of kim chi and banana walnut ice cream except that today was my parents’ 24th wedding anniversary.
“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” my mom commented while my father nodded from the driver’s seat. “You wonder where the time has gone.”
Twenty-four years of time that stemmed from an autumn day in Ticonderoga, NY when two people took a leap of faith. It was a small leap that, in some ways, rivaled the nerve-racking trepidation of Felix Baumgartner before his 23 mile free fall to break the speed of sound.
And so, my dear reader–we are gathered online today to celebrate the marriage of two people who mean so very much to one person in particular. Me.
“Thank you for spending your precious 24th wedding anniversary with your only daughter. Thank you for making her feel, every single day, that she is worthy of your love. Thank you for giving her the freedom to live on her own and the permission to come home whenever she needs. Thank you for deciding to move to New York City, to work in the World Trade Towers, and to meet one another. Thank you for finding the love and trust needed to start a family and keep that family strong, now and always.”
Oh stop crying. It’s always easier to be sentimental about your parents AFTER they’ve left your house.
*And thank you for finding the spelling, tense and grammar mistakes in every blog post. Every single one.