Friday, March 03, 2006

The Visit

You know how I've talked about my family and how open we are and how close we are? That only goes so far. That is my immediate family. Myself, Hubs, the kids, and their significant others.

I've talked about MIL during race season and have received sypathetic responses.

I've talked about my BIL and SIL during various times and have been grateful to be an only child.

I've rarely talked about my parents here, but have gotten into it extensively on the Dark Madness.

Which brings us to today. After my parents retired and moved to another state, 10 hours away, I didn't see much of them. We'd try to get down there a couple of times a year, but usually it was a long drive down, stay a day or two, and a long drive back. Twice a year.

When my parents house burned to the ground a year ago January, I was as shocked as everyone else. I invited them to stay with us, which they did for about 6 weeks. Amazingly, we all seemed to survive that experience and they bought a house back in the town they'd retired from. Now they are only 40 miles away.

After they first moved I was going to see them practically every week. I helped them find stuff for the house, pictures, etc. I helped them get their computer set up and helped with various problems and questions. Then we got busy in the field and I didn't see them so much. At special occasions I would call them to come up and on my birthday in December we went to their place for dinner. Christmas was the last time we saw them.

Today I'm to go for a visit. I have a knot in my stomach. I've put this off now twice in the past few weeks, feigning sickness or work. Why? ...ah... the subconcious is a wonderful thing. Although I put all the "bad" stuff behind me a few years ago and "forgave" them, I'm just not comfortable around them. Isn't that terrible? To be uncomfortable around your own parents. If I thought my kids were uncomfortable around me I would feel horrible, crushed even. I go to visit and we chit-chat about the family, people they know, the animals, what they've been doing lately, their health. We chit-chat as strangers. My mom and dad will give me a hug hello and a hug goodbye and I will cringe. God, I hope my kids never cringe when I want to hug them. I hear them say, "love you" and it sounds hollow in my ears. I say, "love you too" and it sounds even worse.

When do we finally let go of all the shadows? I no longer hold hate for my parents, or fear... only some pity for the things they've done. I no longer cower before them. But to know them? Like them? Enjoy their company? I only wish...