I think my favorite part of growing up so far is watching my parents grow up.
You know, watching them morph from parents into people. Real people. People who occasionally cuss, share with me their ridiculous dreams and hopes, and frivolously spend on silly things, not just food and clothes and education for their kids. It’s a grand old time.
I was the last of three kids and so I was the last to work through the trenches of their tyrannical parenting. And when I passed the finish line, they let loose.
I knew I’d get to reverse roles with them someday, but I didn’t know it’d happen like this. I thought I’d be changing diapers and trying to stop my dad from eating nothing but Pepsi and chips and driving his nurse to suicide. And I’m sure that someday I’ll live out that dream. But I’m kind of surprised that there’s a sort of pre-old people stage, where I have to tell my mom to put on some clothes and tell my dad to stop staying up all night and playing video games. I didn’t see that comin’.
One of my favorite recollections of their middle-aged hilarity is when I asked my mom if she had a pair of shoes I could borrow and all she could offer that matched my dress were her … um…her…*cough*-me pumps.
I immediately declined. She thought it was hysterical.
But there really is something pretty awesome about the transition of my parents from folks to friends. I find my mother absolutely hilarious and often ridiculous. All the time, I’m seeing more and more clearly that I’m basically her, but with a big fat dose of crazy on top. And I find my father incredibly charming. He’s such a kooky little hermit of a man and the ways he goes about things never cease to amuse me. I remember one night when I was growing up, he had decided for some reason or another that a tree branch in our backyard needed to be removed. He promptly went to the kitchen, grabbed my mother’s biggest, best steak knife, and hacked the branch to little tiny bits until 4 in the morning. It’s memories like this that I look back and treasure, realizing that they were really this crazy all along and I was just blinded by my youth.
When I think about how I pieces of both these people in my genetic makeup, I’m genuinely frightened. And honored.
Sometimes when I go home to visit and I’m out with them for an evening, I listen in on their front-seats-of-the-car conversations and am genuinely amused that they raised me. It’s a wonder I have any wits about me at all.
Then again, I’m still a relatively young lass. I’ve got all sorts of years over which to pace my steady decline. ♣