I spent the last two weeks enjoying some quality one-on-one time with my parents. We joked, we laughed, we reminisced about old times. We got caught up on happenings and ongoings. We crafted, baked, cooked, ate, played board games, unpacked boxes, fixed computer problems, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was amazing.
The last time I hung out with just my parents for two weeks was the beginning of August 1980, just before my first brother was born. Needless to say, that was a while ago. Since then we’ve all changed and grown into very different people: from how we live to how we eat, from what we believe to how we vote. In some ways we couldn’t be more different, but it’s remarkable how we’re still so much alike.
I was also reminded of where I learned some traits and habits after having them reflected back to me from my parents. Many of these are great things that I value, like seeing how my Mom exemplifies the definition of hospitality and her excitement about a new creative project. Or see my Dad’s insane attention to detail, his tenacity with a problem, and how much he loves my Mom and takes pleasure in her happiness. I also saw some things reflected back to me that I’m not so enamored with. Little things that bothered me growing up and yet I see myself doing as an adult. Now that I realize I’m doing them, hopefully I can change them.
Perhaps spending time with your parents as an adult bears multiple fruit: those of quality time, shared memories, and realizing why we are who we are. The latter empowers us to selectively carry the best of our parents forward into our own lives without requiring that we take it wholesale.