My parents, are human.

I think as we get older, our parents begin to reveal more about themselves to us. Maybe because they know that it’s no longer necessary for them to be the steadfast elders; we’re too smart for that now. Now they are more comfortable to show how they really feel, or what they really think.
Recent events have shown this to me quite drastically, although over the last couple years I’ve definitely sensed a change. Maybe because I’m not home as often, maybe because we don’t get to talk as much as before, or maybe because they’re aging, but I’m starting to see a side of my parents that I was always “too young” or naive to see/understand. The vulnerable side.

Retracting my teen years.
Keep in mind, I’m writing as someone who was a teenager once too, full of angst and what I thought at the time, wisdom, so I’m not saying any of this condescendingly to those who are teens now. But this is definitely true, when we were younger, we always felt that our parents didn’t understand us. However, I’m starting to see that, it is US who never really understood THEM. We always gave ourselves that excuse that, the generational and cultural gap was too big. But really, no age and culture difference can change the fact that our parents when they were our age, felt love, anger, fear, and sorrow. And even now, just as human beings, they continue to feel those things, but do their best to hide it from us because they are our parents, and must be strong.
I feel bad for not seeing it earlier, but our parents have their own lives too. We get caught up in our day to day, he said-she said gossip, and personal agendas/aspirations…but have you ever thought, your parents have that too. Why would they not? I think once we realize this, it greatly humanize our folks, and actually, doesn’t it make you more curious about them and what they’re feeling/thinking? Maybe not. Maybe your moms and dads are really open and talk a lot, but mine…I can tell there’s a lot that they keep inside, to protect us, or themselves.

The burden of truth.
But now, they’re telling me more, treating me as an equal, and on one hand it’s eye-opening, but on the other hand, it’s a burden. I mean, for so long, they were the ones that sacrificed and took care of us. Poked and prodded to know how we were and how we felt…and now the tables are turning. We have to learn to care for them, to be worried about them…and all this new information about their pasts and presents is a huge load of information and emotions I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with, because unfortunately, the stuff they keep from us, usually isn’t the cheery stuff, but instead quite heavy.

I could go on a lot longer about this, because it’s been on my mind for some time now, but I guess to sum it up…our parents are complicated people. They have secrets, they have desires, they have failures and fears, they have dreams that they had to give up. My parents are definitely like this as I’m discovering and it’s hitting me hard. I want them to be happy. I just want them to be happy. Give your folks a second thought, they deserve it; it wasn’t easy raising us.

Dreaming for them.
I’ll leave w/ this song. It’s called “Dreams” by an artist named Sam Geunjin Kang. (*plug, get Sam’s album, it’s really good). I’ve been a fan of his for several months now, and this song definitely translates what I’m feeling for mom and dad into music. Everytime I get to the third verse, I’m moved listening to the words.

Verse 3 starts at 2:37 (Please listen and read the lyrics)
And mama never had to worry about the life she had
Found a place in the world to live the life she planned
And the hands of my father once bruised and torn
No scars for the man like he was reborn
Cause he never gave up and with hell they paid
But in this place they were caught in a heavenly way
Shake the Shikae cut up all the fruit to eat
With some Anju grab a couple beers to drink
And my mama felt good kicking back this time
Cause she was free finally got a little peace in her mind
And my father sat talking to his father that died
Cause in this place everyone that I loved was alive, but this time
He finally found the words to say
As tears fell from the sky rain was hitting his face
Cause in this place you could never be too late
Cause in this place you could clean up all the messes you made
Imagine that
So I fell into the thoughts of my soul
Dreams came rushing like the tingles of hope
If I had one thing that could somehow come true
It’s to show you the dreams that I’ve been dreaming for you


130 thoughts on “My parents, are human.

  1. Really insightful post, Phil. It’s amazing how (when growing up with Asian parents especially) we believed that we will always be emotionally detached with our parents, but, to our surprise, they become more emotionally open with us as we get older. It’s a pleasant surprise; I would never find it a burden. I guess since I was missing out on this closer relationship that I insatiably craved growing up, I now profoundly appreciate every little story or proverb that my father shares with me.

  2. Thanks for that post, you really write well about topics that I often think about. I feel the same way about my parents…I think I will tell my brother to read this too…because he often does not realize how vulnerable our parents are, and how they have their own worries, hopes and dreams as well (one of my dad’s dreams being to retire soon…). It’s not just teens who tend to not realize this about their parents, it often happens with “kids” in their mid-to-late 20s too…which is sad. Well, I am sure your post will get readers to think…Thanks and keep writing, you are a great writer.

  3. have you already featured him on your blog? i cant keep track anymore. but he’s performed w/ magnetic north before.(sorry for double commenting. xanga doesnt allow you to delete posts!)

  4. well said phil! i couldn’t agree more :)as a teenager, i thought my parents didn’t understand me either so i must’ve given them the hardest time ever. but once i graduated high school and things didn’t go according to plan, my parents were my biggest supporters. and from then on, we started our understanding relationship. i saw my parents worries as i grew older, i got a glimpse of how hard they had to work to get to where they are now, more than that … i saw my parents brave face. it doesn’t mean that they’re not scared for what happens next, it just means they’re brave enough to take whatever’s coming to them next because of us, their kids. it’s good to know that all these years we’ve been protected because our parents loved us so much. it means we’re really lucky. 😀

  5. i think it is also as we grow up, we start gaining ideas of who and what we want to be. personally as i started sorting myself out i started getting more and more angry at my parents as i felt that they weren’t the people i wanted them to be. my parents haven’t reached a stage where they’ve fully opened up to me about their emotions, but i’m starting to see the cracks as they start to be more controlling and obsessive. they are not ready to let me go it seems and are even more determined to treat me like a child and as a result i retaliate. thanks for the post. it reminded me a few things i’ve forgotten since the start of the year. it’s definitely not easy raising children.

  6. On the other hand; Someday, we’ll be going through the same stuff. We’ll be the protective parent who tries to shield trouble from our kids. We’ll receive complaints from them as they hit their preteen years. And when they shout “you just don’t understand,” we’ll smile slightly inside and think back to what our parents had to deal with. It’s a whole give and take thing. Your parents give you, you take from them. Then you give back to your kids, and it goes on. and on. and on.
    Great post, Phillip Wang 🙂

  7. great post, Phil! You’re an awesome writer =DI cannot agree more..I’ve come to realize that there are actually lots going through my parents’ heads constantly and lots of things that they worry about…and why wouldn’t there be? They have to support our entire family – my brother and I AND my grandparents. Although my bro is working so he makes his own money now and I have two more years until I graduate from university, there are still lots of things that they worry about and they’re starting to talk to me about it more. It worries me because I, too, just want them to be happy and would do anything that I can to make that happen.Keep posting Phil, I love reading your blogs. they’re deep stuff 😛

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  10. For me it was different… I was very aware of my surroundings at a young age. I can remember things dating back to 3 years old. My mother would tell me stories about her life, her tragedies, and the reason why I don’t have a dad. It was just me and her. We had nobody but eachother. She brought me to work everyday in the sewing factory and I watched her work. We were very poor. I was already thinking about my responsibilities in first grade. The need to do well… buying a house.. ect. I was scared and sometimes I wanted to run away from all this but how can I? I was always bullied in school to the point I feared for my life but I never told my mother fearing she’d worry. I do know.. I spend so much time thinking.. reflecting.. trying to look at different perspectivesBut all she thinks is that I’m a good for nothing daughter that hates her and wants her to die. The things she say are always so hurtful.

  11. Completely agree with this post. Humans/we are selfish most of the time; we tend to forget that other people have had their past and also have their own aspirations. Thank You.

  12. You’re right Phil, we always think our parents don’t understand us.. when in reality we don’t understand them. We are so naive that we think their world revolves around us. Yet we fail to truly know what they are actually thinking inside and how much they keep to themselves in order to protect us.

  13. wow! i’ve always been a fan of your blog posts, phil.. you have inspired a lot of people (and i am one of them) .. keep it up! c”,) -zj

  14. Dear Phil
    If all your parents have done in your childhood is ”hide their true feelings”, and suddenly now choose to show some I feel really sorry for you. This is the point where a normal actually gets ANGRY thinking “why have you been hiding all of this from me?! Why did you leave me alone with all my insecurities and endless thinking about what was wrong! Even though I was little I could tell you felt something you didn’t want me to see, and it killed me! I felt so unsure, so scared not knowing what was behind that cold facade. I could see you were tired, you had something heavy on your back, but every time I tried to talk about it you would shut me out and just continuing bearing the burden in silence! I felt so responsible for it and bad for secretly being angry about you not telling me anything! Why did you do this to me?! You didn’t tell me because YOU were afraid something might actually change, that you maybe would be able to lessen the burden, but that was an unknown world to you. You rather wanted to stay victims of you past than actually letting go and look into the future! And now look what I have turned into! The same as you! I will forever hide my pain from my loved ones, thinking that is the right thing to do. Leaving them insecure, unsure, afraid and responsible for my own choice to not show my true emotions!”
    You’re gonna get seriously ill if you don’t stop glorifying you parents, it will make you blind to you true self, because right now all you are is a puppet, who only repeats his parents words, like “kids these days” and “you’ll understand when you get older”. That’s bull crap! The anger and emotions that teenagers go through has a logical explanation that grownups don’t WANT to see, because then they would have to realize that it actually is the parents fault, and God forbid people stop worshiping the title “parent”. A young child that has been put though some type of neglect, has not been able to bond with the mother at birth or otherwise has not received love in his first years, will as a defense mechanism suppress the feelings of anger, fear, sadness and pain that follow with this type of experience. When you reach puberty, these suppressed feelings will reach the surface, but you will not be able to recall where they come from, which comes in handy for the parents and really the rest of the world. They can blame the child, saying “that’s puberty” or “that’s how kids are, no respect and no understanding for what the parents do for them”
    And that’s where YOU are right now, you’ve been suppressing you true feelings, maybe still hoping that someone would see them and confirm that they are legit, that they are real, but since you don’t seem to have found anyone like that, you’ve turned the other way, thinking it’s probably all you, that you’re the stupid, unthankful brat that your oh so innocent and poor parents had to put up with, when it actually is the exact opposite.  I feel really sorry for you, for being so blind, and now spreading this blindness to other people, so that you can continue to shut down this small voice, that by now probably has been reduced to the sound of a fly, that tells you “something is wrong”

  15. aww. my parents never poked and prodded me. 😛 parents are human. i think that after all that glitter wears off, those darker shades of their personality, their flaws and insecurities, become more apparent to us. for a long time, i felt betrayed by them, but i’ve only grown to realize that learning how to forgive is learning how to love right. i love my parents, regardless. i can only imagine how much they sacrificed for us. because they wanted us to live a childhood free of worry, they tried hard to not put their burdens on us, trashing and re-scheming their dreams in order to fit us snugly into the picture. they held our hands in order to teach us how to walk, taught us to read so that we could get far in life, got angry (because they care) when we messed up, and still, even when we’ve grown past those teenage years and left the nest, they only want the best for us.
    i know i’ll never truly understand. but i do know that by reaching my dream, i am reaching theirs, and so i do what i can to put their minds at ease.
    a lot of people feel this way. i feel that your post is another voice confirming that. 🙂 it’s very touching, and i’m glad you’re mature enough to see how much they care…

  16. Most people don’t realize this for their whole life. Parents just want what’s best for their children so they hide their sorrows/issues for them to have a worry free childhood! <3.

  17. One day on the first day of the spring semester, a young girl, chillin’ on campus, read this and wanted to cry.

    That girl was me.
    But the tears would have been happy ones.
    This post put into words so many of the ideas that I have been thinking about for so long.
    This post made me feel at peace.
    Like I could “do life”.
    Because my parents did. And it was just as confusing.

    No, it is not easier being an adult.

    I am finding that out.

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