Since I’ve moved from Slovakia abroad, first to Prague and then to London, I’ve got to know my parents better than when I was kid and I got to spend a lot of time with them. There’s been two reasons for this. One, when they came to see me, the time was limited, so it had to be quality time. Two, I started to ask them questions I never asked before. What I learnt was beyond what I ever expected.
First thing that comes to my mind when I think of my parents’ visits are the small things that they say or do that push my buttons. I could make a list. Actually, here’s one:
- My mom’s never-ending urge to clean up. Think hospital-clean.
- How my mom tells me all the time to save up money.
- How she tells me I should spend less money on myself. How come I bought a lipstick this month?
- The way my mom gets nervous about doing something new, then instead of asking for help, she’s pushing me to do it for her.
- My dad. He gets up, it takes him two hours to get out of the house. Actually, three. Between the two hours of preparation, he needs another hour to take a nap.
- Then he thinks it’s the good time to iron his pants. And it must be done perfectly. One pair of pants = 30 minutes.
- My dad loves high-end stuff. Except he’s been unemployed for a couple of years and he keeps on thinking about how it would be to have that stuff; for days and days.
- He also loves to advise me of how I should live my life, every single aspect of it.
Do you know what’s the best part? Everything that I wrote above that pushes my buttons is exactly what upsets me about myself — not about them. And that’s because I’m just like them. I just haven’t accepted them fully for who they are. How do I know? Because I haven’t accepted myself for the very same things. And when I look at myself, I see this:
- A cleaning lady. That’s me. Everything must be pristine. If not, I’m nervous. Plus I never leave house without making the bed and cleaning the dishes.
- I have this neat finance table for my cash flow. When I don’t save up, I feel bad. If I do save up, I think I should have saved up more.
- I often feel guilty when I buy myself something nice. Because I shouldn’t.
- When I do something, I always pay attention to detail. Sometimes thing take me a little longer than I’d like them to. Such as, to leave the house in the morning. I wonder why?
- I often browse websites and look at things that I’d like to have, but can’t afford. It gives me the unnecessary sense of what it would be like to own them.
- …and the list goes on.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from being with my parents is that I’m just like them. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself not to be like them. The more I don’t like the picture I see, the more I am that picture.
The good news about seeing things about my parents that reactivate me is that once I got that gee, I’m the same, I have a choice to be that way or not. But only when I can see it. And the only access to seeing is spending time with my parents. And this is why it’s crucial to spend time with your parent.s
What did you discover from being with your parents the last time you were with them?