It’s been a long, long time since the last time I spent 6 continuous days with my parents.
I was concerned. Very concerned.
Honestly, when all was said and done, I think I laughed more than I have in some time. I cried more too – but all in all, it was a strange, much needed hit of childhood nostalgia. I’d forgotten how it felt to be a daughter. I’d forgotten what it felt like to have parents.
Of course I’d always been their daughter. I was lucky enough to have grown up with fantastic parents, and parents that had stayed together and stuck it out when so many others had not. But isn’t it so interesting the way that family dynamics carry on? Chatting with your mom about the latest developments at work just isn’t the same as being buckled up in the car for hours and subsequently sharing one hotel room is it? Plans are discussed, group decisions are made, and your bed is 2 ft away from theirs. It had certainly been a while since we were all under the same roof.
Sitting in the passenger seat with my feet up on the dash – my mom behind the wheel taking the turns like Nascar and hitting the brakes with a remarkable amount of force – it brought back memories of many an afternoon spent together – headed to rehearsal or to dance class. Only this time, it wasn’t my little sister in the back seat. It was my father, with his muddled grey jacket tucked at his side, and his navy blue hoodie unzipped halfway down to expose a salt-and-pepper haired chest because he’d forgotten to put on a shirt.
Neither of us had noticed.
Until he walked in to the Mobil Minut-Mart uniformed as such, armed and ready to thoroughly confuse anyone that caught a glimpse as he rushed to the register to buy a bag of Lay’s potato chips and yet another pack of gum.
You had to laugh.
And we did laugh – a lot. It was OK, because he was my still my dad – parts of him the dad that I had known all of my life, and loved. I came out of the Minut-Mart with my own child-sized bag of Lays (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) truth be told.
It was strange, but on this trip up north with my parents I felt nurtured – almost like I could enjoy the simple comforts of childhood irresponsibility again. It was the shuffling of roles between daughter and parent that was different now. It was a new (and albeit at times exhausting) sensation for me, but oddly one that after the fact, I am thankful for. Searching for patience when it is so far out of reach, mustering the last bits of energy you’ve got, wishing you had more answers than questions – I thought, this must be what it feels like to have a child.
All of which was quite interesting, considering the reason for our extended visit was none other than awaiting the arrival of a child.
We were waiting for Baby Oliver.
This very handsome little guy came a little later than anticipated, but he was so worth the wait! My littlest, sweetest nephew arrived early Tuesday morning and we couldn’t hit the road fast enough to get up to Santa Cruz and meet him (I suppose at times Nascar tendencies may come in handy 😉 ).
With mom, dad, and baby boy all happily recovering, my parents and I dined (a lot), wined (with care) and danced our way through Santa Cruz – even finding time to hit the crowd favorites – burgers at Suda, dinner and drinks at Johnny’s overlooking the bay, sweeps through the Bookstore and my beloved Stripe Downtown.
Oh, and Jazzercise at the Roller palladium was also a must. Naturally.
While watching my parents try on sunnies at Urban Outfitters proved to be both surprisingly awkward and wildly entertaining (no seriously, dad was super into shopping…apparently some things do change), nothing at all could top getting to hold my little sister’s first child.
It’s strange getting to meet someone who’s not quite a “someone” yet – but then to see them so quickly change and take shape in both figure and character. Especially when that someone came from a person you’ve known your whole life, and she created it.
Like, from scratch.
My mind was blown.
I literally could not conceptualize how this human came to be; I felt like my brain wasn’t wired for it. I couldn’t fully understand. And I think it’s because he was so new – I didn’t know who he really was yet. On top of this confusion came a giant wave of empathy for the journey my sister had just taken through her pregnancy (and now the seismic shitstorm that is labor and delivery).
I felt detached. sympathetic. overwhelmed.
But as the days crept by, he began to look more familiar…settling into his features, waving his arms – his eyes watching and wandering about. I couldn’t wait to see him next. To see how he would have changed, who he would become –
I loved him.
Watching my sister and brother-in-law take on such a task with effortless ease and grace was awe-inspiring. And also infuriating. They were total naturals. The two stood patiently side by side, sharing duties, giving energy without cease – with all of the answers at the ready…they were parents, through and through.
I am a proud auntie, a proud daughter – a proud person to have such wonderful people with me to take part in this crazy cosmic journey.
Creating life, Sustaining life, Celebrating life –
Humans are truly incredible creatures.