Compared to last year, my parents’ visit this time around was phenomenal. That word is strong, but it is contrasted with the worst week I have experienced.
I was actually pretty shocked at how gracious and loving my parents were this year. They spent 2.5 weeks here with us and stated their main purpose was twofold (1) to see us, of course, and (2) to do whatever they could to help us with our startup tea business. It was as if they came here on a missions service trip, demonstrating selfless labor on our behalf nearly the entire time they were here. In addition, my parents are becoming elderly. My mom was in her forties when she gave birth to me. Their energy levels are waning. And yet, despite the intense summer heat and our energizer bunny I mean toddler, their dedicated work ethic never waned.
Incredibly humbling. To have two people take nearly 3 weeks off work, drive over a thousand miles, and spend their entire “vacation” serving us?? I was pretty blown away. Nothing reflects the heart of Christ more to me than selflessness and servanthood. Did I say Christ? Now, obviously I don’t believe Jesus is the reason for human goodness. I used to. But, their actions last year definitely reflected a negative image on their current beliefs and were great reasons for me to see religion as destructive. This time? It definitely left a better taste in my mouth.
Yet, their pain about my apostasy still made itself apparent from time to time, such as my mom’s tears during our first meal together as we invited my dad to say grace. The constant worry etched into the pained wrinkles spoke loudly of their thoughts of me and my family. Conversations about politics and gay marriage got heated, indicative to them of our continuing heathenism. Although the time spent we all spent working was a welcome distraction that allowed for awkward silences to not be awkward, I still felt a cloud of anxiety lined with eggshells.
Running a start-up small business out of one’s home is an incredible amount of work. Much more than I ever would have imagined. Add a toddler into the mix and turn half your employees into slow-moving pregnant women in their third-trimester (it’s just my husband and I), and we were drowning in work over our heads. My parents’ presence here was not only welcome, it gave us a necessary hand-up to be able to conquer the rest of this super-busy summer for us. I am incredibly grateful for them, their servitude, their support, and their love.
Despite the incredible dysfunction that remains, healing has come to my family. That brings me an indescribable relief, for I was a child haunted with the burdens that I seemingly carried alone of a broken relationship with my mother and father. This probably sounds ridiculous, but I constantly worried about their untimely death or my own, for I would then always regret our last year together as one painted with sorrow, rejection, dysfunction. We’ve got a LONG way to go to be truly emotionally healthy, but I can finally, finally rest well at night.