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
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