Who were my parents before they were my parents? Who were they before they became a ‘they’? This was the question that came to my mind as I had lunch with my Dad today. With his age and illnesses it was difficult to watch him struggle to hold a spoon in his hand as he attempted to eat his soup. His hand shook, and though I could see that it frustrated him, he handled it with grace, while I, on the other hand, struggled to hold back the tears that were forming in my eyes. I could only think, who were you before you were this frail man?
These are my parents back in April 1968 in Rochester, New York. My Mom was pregnant with my oldest sister. My Mom was 26 and my Dad was 22. I look at this picture and I think about how young they look and wonder if they were excited at the thought that soon they would be starting a family together. I would love to travel back in time and get to know these two people.
In our own youth how we see our parents depends on our age. If we’re young we see them as our protectors who love us and somehow have the ability to make everything all better. If we’re teenagers we see them as our wardens who keep us from doing anything that’s really fun.
It isn’t until we’re adults that we begin to realize that our parents were once us. They were young and they also once saw their own parents as their protectors and later their wardens. More importantly they were also human and with that came imperfection and the inevitable mistakes.
I see qualities in my parents now that I inherited and I long to see where they came from. I know that they were both adventurous people and I inherited that quality and while that’s definitely nice to know it would be even greater to see. To experience their adventurous spirit with them.
How much more would we understand about who are parents became if were able to travel back in time. If we could get to know them simply as human.