I woke up before my alarm went off on Tuesday, my last day of work before I left for my first vacation in a year and a half. Excited, anxious, slightly scared, a mix of emotions I couldn’t adequately describe. I am not even sure I understood how I felt. I paid my emotions no mind and ran to work. I must admit I wasn’t the most productive employee on that sunny day. The day dragged on forever, minutes turned into hours and the hours turned into weeks! As the hours kept stretching endlessly, my mind followed suit and it wandered the way wild horses do in an open field.
The moment I finished work, I ran home, took a shower and then my little brother was kind enough to drop me at the airport. My nervousness had gotten the best of me the day before and I arrived at the airport way too early. The anticipation was kicking in and I grew restless. I was texting with people to stay busy, I talked to my better half and I tried not to think about the trip. Finally, the plane took off. The feeling of being crushed on my seat as the engines were fighting desperately to push the 180-ton plane in the air was overwhelming. The voyage was long and tedious. However, luckily, the planes weren’t full, so I did have enough space to stretch my short legs. A little layover in Geneva and finally, after more than a half a day’s trip, I arrive at my destination: Athens, Greece, where I was born. I have a connection with my country I couldn’t possibly explain. I was just deeply impatient to see my parents and there they were, waiting for me with smiles from ear to ear.
I fought a lot with myself about the tone this message would take. I don’t want to brag, display my fortunes, or anything that might resemble vanity. Yet, I feel compelled to write this message. Perhaps it is my gratitude gene that is talking. Perhaps as I grow older, I come to terms with the important things in life and nothing could be more important than family. I always knew that yet, it feels good to see my theory be turned into reality.
As life has it, we don’t choose our family and especially not our parents. Our very own existence is the direct result of two people having sex, to be clear. I am not being crass here. Our existence is only a result of fertilization, but our lives are way more complex than that. Being born seems to be the easiest task. However, living is a whole other level of complexity. Our lives are irrevocably linked to our parents. The individuals they are will deeply and automatically influence our very own personalities, flaws, qualities, physical appearance, way of thinking, acting, talking, walking, and so much more.
This is the second day I am with them and I feel like a little child. I can feel their love and affection for me as I sit with them. We just talk and laugh at anything and everything as we always did for decades now. We are three adults just enjoying each other’s company. I am their son yet I don’t always feel that way. They speak to me and treat me like an adult, and that has been the case since I was a kid. I guess thanks to them, I learned how to talk to my elders from an early age. I know the joy I feel, the overwhelming satisfaction of sitting with the people I consider to be THE PEOPLE who have my unwavering support and unconditional love.
Nevertheless, a question lingers in my hyperactive mind: how do they feel? It sounds narcissistic as fuck but it is sheer curiosity. How do they feel to see their son sitting with them? I don’t have kids so I couldn’t possibly relate. The only thing I know is that if ever my own kids love me half as much as I love my parents, I will be the undisputed luckiest man on earth. On a personal note, my parents have always been kind to me, always respectful, never made me feel unwanted, inadequate, stupid or undeserving. They never pushed me away. They always fed me, took care of my emotional needs, sent me to school, and especially they always wanted me to be my own man. They sure had dreams for me, but they never pushed their agenda. They gave me the freedom to be myself. Do they agree with all my choices? No, they don’t and I know so, they have told me so. Yet, they respect them. They have always cared for me. I remember as a small child, I had breathing issues that would keep me up all night coughing and crying my eyes out. My parents would stay up and take turns into looking after me. They would do so while my mom was working double shifts at the hospital as a nurse and my father was working as doctor and studying for his OB/GYN specialty. Imagine that kind of physical and psychological sacrifice. I never asked to have parents like these, it just happened. I was blessed, I won the lottery, God was great to me, whatever you want to call it. My dream is to emulate them.
I ask you…How do you ever repay your parents for what they did for you? How can a person ever do that? It drives me nearly insane to feel utterly helpless when I ask myself that specific question. Perhaps, as children we are not meant to repay our parents. But surely there must be something we could do to thank them or to show them that all their efforts paid off. I admit having this inherent need to be a good son to my parents. Once again, it might be my narcissism acting up, but I am out of fucks to give. I want to be a son they would be proud of, a man they would love just as unconditionally as they loved me when I could barely talk. Perhaps my need to be a good son has directly affected the very man I am today. I do know it is one of the reasons I always stayed out of trouble. I want them to KNOW all the effort, money, time, love, tears and blood, they put into raising me, were worth it. I want them to feel content and secure knowing that I am out there, that I am doing good and well, not hurting anybody and especially not myself. And yes, I want them to get the occasional compliment, the famous “Your son is a good boy.” I want them to get that as frequently as possible. I do want them to feel that joy. That is my narcissism talking and I still haven’t gotten any more fucks to give!
I hadn’t seen my parents in 18 months, an eternity. Here I am sitting with them. Well, now they just bid me goodbye, kissed me and went to sleep. How will I ever repay them? That is the billion dollar question that will never find an answer. To anyone reading this, please cherish your parents. Tell them you love them, kiss them, call them, text them, go see them when you can. For the people whose parents are no longer alive, cherish their memory by thinking of them as frequently as you can. For the people who are parents, please make sure you treat your kids as kindly and decently as possible, for one day, they will thank you and cherish you themselves. This life can be tricky but it can never take away the appreciation you have for those you love. Parents are more precious than what any religion, theory, political movement, or any other pseudo-intellectual movement will have you believe. Cherish them. Love them. Take care of them. Be there for them. Be a good son/daughter to your parents. It might be easier than you think. You might not even realize or understand how much it pleases them to just sit with you and talk. Cherish them, that is all I will say.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now, smile and go on with your day