Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Family First

            A burnt out college junior, a budding freshman, and two recent empty nesters try to make dinner plans: this is my current family dynamic.  I’m not going to lie; it can be stressful spending time with my family.  My parents go to sleep no later than 11.  I go out no earlier than 11.  My sister likes kale.  I like cheeseburgers.  Often, I find that I have very little in common with the people that shaped me.
            As you grow up it’s easy to forget how you got to that point.  I certainly do not spend a lot of time thinking about my elementary school days.  Even less often, however, do I take the time to remember life back at home with my family.  Between exams, and projects, and the disheveled calendar that is my social life, I rarely reminisce about Wednesday nights back in Pikesville.
            A home cooked meal.  4 people crowded on one couch around a grossly outdated EDTV[1] (that stands for enhanced definition; you’ve never heard of it because they only made them for about a week).  Maybe 24 is on, or The Office.  My sister pops popcorn and dad scoops ice cream.  Perhaps we’re playing Scrabble (I’m probably winning).  It’s nights like these that make me miss home.
            My parents don’t party.  They don’t eat Domino’s.  My sister doesn’t drink Budweiser or play FIFA.  They won’t come to Mardi Gras or see the new Fast & Furious movie at 10:30.  Yet, I can’t hold that against them.  The truth is, we’re all at different places in our lives, and that’s okay.  The challenge is remembering the things we have in common and searching for new ones.
            I’m going home this weekend, and normally that’s stressful for me.  There’s something about living under my parents’ roof that undermines my basic independence.  Nevertheless, I’m excited to be back in Baltimore.  After all, it only takes a few moments to remember how much fun we had together, back when school was around the corner, and family TV night was a highlight of the week.
            So, I urge you to take a minute and remember your childhood.  No one’s was perfect, of course, but if you dig deep, I’m sure you can smile about the time when you were cared for by people who loved you unconditionally.  Call your parents on the phone.  Meet them for dinner.  Send your sister a stupid snapchat.  NO matter where you are in your life, these are the people who will truly always have your back, and the biggest mistake you could make would be pushing them away.

[1] Note: that TV has since been replaced.

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