A little while ago my mom had a major surgery. I was terrified. The pandemic and learning about how hospitals treat Black Women in particular made the whole experience overwhelming. I stayed focused and strong, trying to keep on a brave face for my mom because this was a surgery she needed and I knew she was already apprehensive.
Now, on a regular basis, I am running around all day. I’m your everyday busy artist millennial tryna make a living and change the world at the same time but this week I stopped by my folks place pre-surgery to give my mom a mani/pedi ( which we had to remove immediately after) lol. I was trying to help calm her nerves. I stayed with her and sat at the hospital the entire surgery until I absolutely had to head out. In my head I was there. The surgery went well and I checked in daily. The following week I travelled on a trip I’d planned pre-surgery and when I got home I didn’t visit right away. I was catching up with work and running around to meetings from the time I landed. When I did speak to my mom a few days later she was salty (aka upset). She didn’t understand why I didn’t come visit once I got home. Honestly, when she first expressed her disappointment I was upset. I thought to myself, “surely my mom understands that I had to catch up on work”. When I did come visit her the next day she told me that she was just hurt that I didn’t come see her. In that moment, my mom was my friend and she’d just made it through a traumatic physical experience and I wasn’t there for her. I understood her frustration. I’m her person just like she’s mine. She needs me like I need her.
I feel like sometimes it takes us too long to realize the importance of our parents. I’m going to be transparent and share that for years my parents have felt to me like supporting characters in my life plot. I think it’s that way for lots of people until you get a wake up call. Sometime along college it solidified that my parents were indeed the main characters in their stories and I was the supporting character in their plot.
I’m in my mid-twenties, in my “gosh dang my parents are cool” era, I no longer see them as folks who just gotta raise me. I recognize them as unique individuals with feelings, insecurities and dreams. I’m grateful to them because they really pressed pause on everything they wanted – to give me what I needed. My parents were in their early twenties when they had us. They were young and probably ill equipped to navigate parenthood but they did it, and we all turned out more than decent if I do say so myself. As I navigate my late twenties I realize that I could not possibly have parented a little me well 5 years ago. It gives me so much more respect for what they did and are doing.
Since I have had this extra time to exist without the responsibility of another lil human I’ve learned some things. First, I’ve been to therapy, I’ve unpacked some traumas, I’ve had mental breakdowns at no one’s expense but my own and I’m more equipped to handle my emotional state and mental environment. I’ve begun this process of “reparenting” with no one to turn around and care for immediately. It’s been transformative and continues to be transformative. I’ve been able to travel the world, and chase my dreams. The more I think about how long this process , takes the more I perceive it as a privilege for me, my family and hopefully our future children. I get to focus on being a whole me. I was not a whole me at 21, I was a reflection of and in spite of my environment.
Now, I desperately want my parents to have their time. Their time to chase their dreams. Time to unpack their trauma and to reparent themselves. I want my parents to travel the world and fall in love with something new. New cultures, new foods. I want my parents to exhale. I want to be able to take them around the world, I feel like it’s my turn to be their supporting character. Their cheerleader.
I realize that life is short and as far as we know we get this one. I want their one to be as wonderful, meaningful and full as possible. I want them to believe that there is no true limit like they taught me. I want the world to see their brilliance and talent.
I guess I say all of this to say. If you still have your parents around, treasure them, treat them and honor them. They are humans who likely just want to feel seen and loved like we do.
I know this lands differently for everyone. Some relationships with parents are strained. Some folks are removed from their parents with good reason. Some people have supported their parents their entire lives and are simply trying to keep their own heads above water. If any of this is you, I see you. You know what’s best for you. Other people have lost one or both parents and it’s been devastating. If that’s you, I see you and I’m sending you love.
This post is just an invitation of sorts. What would happen if you looked at/ treated your parents like your friends. If you treated them like unique, complex, multifaceted adults. Who would they become to you? There’s lots of thoughts and feelings here so, you know, leave what doesn’t stick.
XOXO Nay Nay
4 thoughts on “Random Musings on Parents”
So sweet. Love you.
I resonate with so much of this. As a mid-twenty-something who is nearing the end of a month-long journey to the other side of the world, I am looking forward to coming back to see my mother. I can’t imagine someone loving me more than her on this planet. If I ever need pure maternal love, it’s always available in abundance for me so long as she is on this planet.
I have never articulated my mom’s love for me in this way. Thank you for your inspiring words that helped me reflect on how much I appreciate my mother and her unconditional love for me. What a blessing to have. May such grace inspire me to lean into my heart’s innermost desire.
It’s also relieving to know that my father, grandparents, and extended family live past the limitations of their material body.
Thank you so much for sharing this. 🏽