I have been wanting to write this for the last few days but figured I would let it play out. What other conversation will happen before I get to the airport. What other feelings will I feel as I drive through my hometown, seeing my father and mother in their natural element, saying goodbye to my nephews as I leave them to grow through an entire year, and departing from my sisters as they navigate their lives until I see them again.
I tell my nephews I love them. Please try to wrestle this year. Take that robotics course. Include one another in high school and praise each other in your respective friend groups. I tell my sisters that I am proud of them and how we should do this whole family (sibling really) get together again next year. To my parents... I tell them to take care of themselves. Truly. To focus on their health because there is so much to want to live and be active for. But the questions to myself remains...Will they listen? Is this even worth it? And it all goes back to my parents.
I am now 3 double 7n7s deep. The waitress gives me an extra shot because I tell her I am breaking down an entire family vacation, the first ever, in words that people will only read out of boredom yet I write because it is easier for me to express myself through word vomit. Plus I expect people to read so that in some way -- it forces validation and change for myself through knowing people secretly know a little more about me without openly being well..open to people that I consider "friends" in a foreign land.
It took me being into my late 20s to early 30s to know my family was below middle class growing up. From the outside looking in, if you would meet my parents by themselves today, they are poor. Hoarding garbage and living below their means. My mother in her 70s living in a small 1 bedroom apartment in a small town that myself and my family pay for. My father on the other hand, barely gets by with his pension as he lives with literal dog shit surrounding him. Both struggling to come to terms with not only their mental health but their inevitable mortality and lack of care for themselves and their children. My sisters have grown to be successful professionals in their own right but are still at my parents every beck and call to help while I, living thousands of miles away, just throws money at whatever will help my sisters breathe and be able to live their lives without being face-to-face with the stress of my parents lack of care for themselves and for the family as a whole.
When did my parent's lives go wrong?
My oldest sister cries as she talks about my mothers lack of effort to be present, let alone care about herself. My other sister in tears as she struggles with my father and his similar lack of effort and care. Myself, getting caught by my nephews crying under sunglasses as I leave my mothers home... how can you let yourself get to this? But as siblings... you could say we broke a cycle.
We covered everything for the vacation. Taking turns trying to create memories my niece and nephews will hopefully use for good as they progress in life. Showing them they are loved and cared for while simultaneously ignoring the pain we obviously still feel as we lack one sibling during the first vacation we have ever truly taken.
I can't help but imagine families taking normal vacations. I look at social media and watch groups go to Europe on their parents retired dimes, all heading out to dinner and sight seeing as a "family". Meanwhile our parents are on different level of selfish, my father spending any money he has left on tinder over his own healthcare and my mother, just ignoring any form of health and focusing on how her life should have / could have been different.
I don't aim to be a Debbie downer. I aim to analyze. Evaluate. Understand.
My first family vacation was amazing. My siblings and I got to do something we never have done. We got to take care of our family. Show our nephews new experiences and that they are loved and wanted. Show my niece an actual family adventure.
Despite the onslaught of positivity this vacation had to offer... I can't help but look back and think about if my sister Dee would have enjoyed herself. Even asking my nephews if they think their mother would have had fun - which they agree she would have. On top of that I think if this would be the first and last time my mother would ever actually be involved in something like this and if she even enjoyed herself or if she just spitefully enjoyed it because my father was nowhere in sight, sitting at home in his depressing garbage throne while his dog barked for actual food and not random table scraps. IS this shit hereditary my sister asks while driving to the airport? I hope to fucking god not.
We all have worked our asses off to try and get some extra sheckles to help pay for things for our family. Yet I am still plagued by these parental questions and existential thoughts.
If I had the money - my parents would live with some assistance to help them get better but how much assistance can you truly pay for when they have no desire to get better themselves. Again... is this hereditary?
As I get older, I want my quest to live to continue. I want my family to know I never stopped wanting everyone to feel love and wanted and I, fully engaged in the process. I want those I care about to know that I am doing everything in my power to be the best human available for not only myself but for them as well. I look at my parents now as shining of examples of what not to be. What not to do. What not to end up like.
I think about the loss of a sibling. Loss of a child. The attempt to replace love a child loses from a lost parent so they can still feel it from the family that they are attached to by blood. I think about broken homes and the effort to break the cycle. All of this ultimately circles back to the thought of legacy. How I want to be remembered and the effort I want to be remembered for. Are these efforts worth it? Do they notice? Is it selfish to want them to notice but without the need for acknowledgement?
I tell myself and my sisters that I believe the boys know we love them. That deep down, my parents know their kids have become better than them and that is okay and necessary. In the end, I just can't help but feel sad to know that in some peoples lives, they lose the will to live despite those around them giving them more than enough to live for.
The sadness is there but I am happier to know my sisters and I are breaking the cycle. I know if things were different, Dee would be on the same page. Before it is too late, I just wish my parents would feel the same and be accountable for it.
The Journey Continues....