Our 2nd annual Cama Beach camping trip was well under way, and I realized that over the past 5 weeks (4 of which have been spent in some fashion with my parents) that I have been somehow softening toward my parents as people, and possibly even experiencing some softening of memories of childhood. I blame this softening, in part, by the joy my parents had in meeting Mari and her husband and their kids when we all went there for the weekend to wine taste. And the joy my parents had in meeting my friend Amelia as she came up for the day to Cama Beach. They want to know my friends. They want to know my life.
Memory is a strange thing. Because, if I squint hard enough, soften into a deep breath and let my muscles relax, I can remember the feeling of childhood. I might have been an anxious child in ways, but I was also blissfully carefree in other ways. It wasn’t until we moved in adolescents, and I began to feel awkward and misunderstood and took a cynical look at my parent’s parenting. And then there was the un-diagnosed depression and anxiety that clouded my mind. And in college, and young adulthood there was a VERY cynical look back, seeing my parents in all their faults, how I would do it differently, how very misunderstood I was and how much I felt I had to hide to receive their ‘un’conditional love.
And there I was, sitting on a log watching my parents play with Potamus on the beach and I just felt soft toward them, toward my memories of them growing up. I haven’t gone to the extreme of saying that everything they did was right, or that nothing they did hurt me at all, but there was this settling in to the gray. That my parents annoy me sometimes AND they love my son (and me, yes, I’ll even go that far). It was really a sweet feeling to just sit and be and not feel all this leftover angst that I usually feel when I’m with them.