Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Parental Unit

Having just spent a weekend with my parents, they traveled 2000km to visit, I have come to a conclusion.

When you are very young, you look up to your parents as god-like creatures, teaching you the ways of the world. They spend their days both sheltering you and showing you the ins and outs of all the grown up things that you can one day look forward to. They do things in your best interest, like marching you into the bank to draw out some unimaginablke amount of money...probably $100 of accumulated birthday, Christmas and tooth fairy money to invest. There is nothing more heartbreaking to a child than having to hand over that sum of money. Because honestly, who could ever hope to earn that amount of cash in their lives!

Once you reach a certain age you realise that your parents are not in-fact god-like, on the contrary, they are silly unknowledgable people from a bygone era qho will never fully understand you in all your immeasurable teenage depth. *cue angsty punk rock and passive aggressive behaviour*...and you wonder why they don't understand you.

You leave home rejoicing at being free of the oppression of your parents, you veritably leap for joy at the very concept of life out of home. Forgetting that Mum and Dad provided you with the money for your bond, helped you move and bought all of your furniture for you. Oh so independent. You live happily in your cocoon of self-importance and general awesomeness, getting by on a diet of instant mi-goreng noodles, pasta and chicken...when it's on special.

After a few share houses and a number of unsavoury housemates you settle-ish and begin to consider the possibility that your earlier perception of your parents as oppressive curfew implementing monsters may not be quite accurate.

You thank your lucky stars that Facebook wasn't around when you were a teenager and cringe to think how whiny, self-involved and lame your status updates would have been (I write on my blog...the purest form of self importance imaginable...LOOK AT ME I HAVE AN ENTIRE WEBPAGE DEVOTED TO MY AWESOMENESS!!!)

A number of international trips and a bail out from self inflicted debt later you thank your father, silently because you're still not ready to let him know that he was right, that he marched you into the bank that day. Now that you earn more than $100 a year you also appreciate that he showed you the value of a dollar.

Now i'm not saying that my parents are always right because, as a child of my generation that is against my religion but I will happily admit that they are awesome. Living so far away from them has made me appreciate just how much my parents have done, do and always will do for me. I miss being able to see them at a whim, although with technology as it is, its not hard to keep in touch. Sometimes it is hard though, spending time with friend or partners family and missing that strange and dysfunctional dynamic that every family has but you don't notice in your own until you are detached from it.

Now when I see my parents, rather than being filled with thoughts of misunderstanding and annoyance as I was wont to do in my angst ridden teen years I am reminded of the patience and love shown to me as a child. I remember the first time my Dad let go of the bike seat on my brothers black BMX when he was teaching me to ride. I am reminded of sitting on the bench with Mum making toast. I am also reminded of our trip to Thailand for my 21st where we got kind of drunk on cocktails (there is nothing quite so funny as watching your mother drinking Sex On The Beach from a glass in the shape of a lady's naked torso).

So yes, in all my super mature 24-and-a-bit-year-old retrospect I see that my parents are two of the greatest, most patient and generous people I have ever had the good fortune to know and despite the musings of my teenage self, they did not, in fact ruin my life.

And after that gushy admittance of parental love I feel the need to go and do something rebellious.

Excuse me. I'm going to go and slam my door.

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  1. Sally, what a great and at times funny post!

    You describe so well this children-parents relationship. So true that I could see myself in the different stages, accepting after all that my parents did their best and will always be there, remembering the fantastic moments of this special bound, accepting that they were right sometimes(always a bit tough!!!!!!) and wishing the sea that separates us would not exist, so I could jump in the car and go for a chat and a good coffee after work tonight....
    Have a great day! Stay well.

  2. hahaha love the first image!