The last 2 weeks, I took a little hiatus from my Mon-Fri daily blog posting that I am trying to accomplish with the new year and one of my most avid readers – who also happens to be my dad 🙂 – let me know that he was missing his daily dose of my kooky blog via an email asking where I had gone. My initial reaction, however, was that because I had not physically spoken with either of my parents in a whole 48 hours (this does not include the texts and emails that did transpire during said 48 hours), that they were doing the whole “parent” thing and worrying about my well being. So I shot back a quick emailing promising my dad that I was fine and just extraordinarily busy with my life out here in Western PA. It also included a plea at the end to stop worrying and for them to trust that when I say things are going well, they really are!
Later on, when I did speak to my dad on the phone regarding some question or other that I had, I brought up our email correspondences with a final note on how him and mom needed to stop worrying so much. His response pulled at a few heart strings and, oddly enough, had me on a brief trip down memory lane.
He said, “Kelsey, I know I don’t have to worry. It’s not that. It’s just that I miss our talks we always have.”
That was it. Those few plain and simple sentences, and I was taken aback. I started thinking about all the conversations my dad and I would have and the talks of usually a vastly different nature I would have with my mom, too. Each of my parents are extremely talented individuals and lucky for me, their strengths compliment each other and so growing up, my sisters and I always had a specific parent to turn to when any problem arose. For instance, if it was tricky algebra homework, it was off to find mom, the math parent. But if you needed a paper proofread at midnight the night before it’s due (yes, this still went/goes on even at the college level…don’t judge!), you knew to call dad and start the conversation off with, “I’m really really sorry and I know it’s late but…” He was the parent with the “red pen.”
So, as I got older and was nurtured and encouraged by my parents to form my own opinions, to always seek knowledge, and stand up as a strong, independent individual, I found that we started to have discussions and debates on various topics, specific to each parent. Mom always had an open ear when I needed to complain about how unrealistic Scandal had become in recent seasons or needed to vent about how oblivious people could be or how incompetent my manager always seemed to be, regardless of which job I had growing up (with a couple of exceptions). My dad, however, was the parent I turned to with the philosophical questions or thoughts, the political debates/discussions, or anything regarding obscure knowledge I had somehow come across and retained.
But, no matter the discussion or the parent, they were something I came to enjoy and usually on a daily basis since I had begun to feel better and wanted to talk to them (some of that came with age, some came from feeling more stable as things sorted out with my medications and therapy). And with those words from my dad, I realized I had taken them for granted.
I suddenly found myself longing to be back in Jersey, back home with my parents where I could easily sit down to dinner and have these talks with them again. But then, oddly enough, I remembered a talk that my mom and I had had when I was around 14-years-old.
It was brought on by a song that came on the radio while my mom and I were driving somewhere. It’s funny that I remember it so well, I know exactly where the car was at this point in our trip, I can sing the chorus of the song, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins, in my head, and I remember exactly what my mom looked like at that point, with long, brown, permed curly hair.
It was a good ‘ol fashioned country song about how life goes by too fast and you find yourself wishing you could go back and live some of those moments again. I had turned to my mom and asked her if she had wished for that. If she had wished that my sisters and I were younger, that they hadn’t gone off to college already and we all were under one roof again and had family dinners at night still. Her response was unexpected and, I think, not one many would have had.
She said, “No I don’t.”
That was it. My wonderful mother of few words. I turned, startled, and prodded for more information, an explanation. Didn’t she like it when we were little? Didn’t she enjoy those family dinners?
“Of course! But I am also excited about the future. I am excited to see all three of you girls successful women out in the world. I can’t wait to be a Grandma to your children and watch as you each get your due payback. Of course watching you grow up was fun, but moving forward is a new adventure, even more fun, but this time, I will have less work to do and more spoiling to accomplish and I told you so’s coming.”
I remember sitting there, still driving in the car, mulling over my mom’s words, still a little surprised at her unexpected response. Leave it to my mom to take something that so many people think is a negative (aging) and turn it into an adventure. To offer such a different perspective.
For whatever reason, I never forgot that conversation. I think about it often, especially when that song comes on my Prime Country XM station. I can’t say that I have always lived by this philosophy of hers, but I have tried, especially recently. But sometimes, when we are scared or feeling lonely, we can’t help but wish for the past, for a simpler time. And that’s okay, everyone has those moments. You can yearn for the past a bit but always be looking forward, too. As long as you live and breathe, you have a future and it’s up to you to make the most of it.