Like many, I settled with the fact that my relationship with my parents is "complicated". I took time to reassess that "complication" and see if there's possibility to approach the relationship in a more fulfilling way. Visiting my parents is always a momentous occasion. To say that their house is chaos is an understatement. As a child of first generation immigrant family you stand between two worlds. Your old world that was left behind and the new one. Maybe it's Canada or US or Australia. Somewhere isolated, inaccessible by land to your old home. Being the middleman between my son and my parents encompasses the experiences of straddling both of my worlds. It is not only the language that ties you. Your old traditions and culture remain a part of you. In Canada I always felt as an outsider but I would be even more lost in my old home. Neither here nor there. The current distance of 4000km between me and my parents adds to the disruptive chaos when I'm suddenly back into their home. The older I get and the less time I spend with them, I feel I get further away from them. This time I made a conscious choice to fully dedicate my attention to them. Not simply passing the time until my flight home, but be present with them. We lead our busy lives and we don't spend enough time with the people who were with us every day for 20 years. So I cleared my schedule and saw nobody outside my family. My dad is hard of hearing so my parents home is extraordinarily loud. Throw in my 7 year old who only speaks English and I have 3 people having simultaneous conversations with me all at once. Everyone vying for my attention, requesting confirmations in two languages. Utter chaos, I'm exhausted as I write this but I'm grateful. I'm grateful I gave my parents all of my attention. I'm grateful I answered all of their questions, had conversations, showed my son pictures of my whole life and let him experience the real true place of where I came from. Real version of my childhood. I sit here and think, this really felt like home. I didn't use my parents home as a hotel, I was there with them. I had deep meaningful conversations. I let irritations slide. Let them be themselves, let me be just me. Their child without any prejudice. Content. The end result? I feel full. Like I travelled back in time to my childhood and experienced the happy memories. I paid attentions to smells, to the lights, to the very loud noises. It was nostalgic.
We don't have a lot of time left with our parents, we can close the gaps in ideologies and beliefs and be with them as people who love us more than anyone else in the world. There is beauty there that we can uncover. When I let it, the time with them felt like a welcoming portal to the old world of where I came from. The old world isn't a country tied to an arbitrary geographical border. The old world is my family.
We should all call our moms and dads and let the one too many questions slide. They love us and we should let them.