I have a Mother and Father. Just we three. We three musketeers who face the world.
Since I can remember it has really only been the three of us. We have joined the lives of many other people regularly. We have formed families with others in every town we have lived in. But even so it has always been only the three of us when things really get tough.
We have fought. We have cried, we have been silent. All of this we have done together. My Mother, Father and I. When I went to university in a different town they helped me move. My Father set up my entire electric system: computer, lamp, radio and kettle. My Mother helped me put my clothes in my new cupboard. They were there for that big moment of sudden adulthood. They watched as I took my first steps to becoming the woman I am now. They watched with sadness and pride as I took those first tentative strides into a world unknown.
Four years after that I moved again. My parents were there for that too. Once again we completed the ritual we had established years before. Once again, my parents watched with mixed emotion as I stepped into another world. A life path so different I am sure from what they had envisioned for me. They watched not knowing whether I would survive it all. They prayed I would not be hurt. They hoped that if hurt did come, that I would be made stronger for it.
When hurt finally did arrive at my door one lonely night I did the one thing I knew to do. I called home. I went home. And there I got to be safe again. I was taken care of. I was left to recover. I healed.
Now I live in New York city and it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever faced in my life. Coming here on my own the way I did to go to graduate school rocked the very fabric of myself. You see, I always thought I was a relatively strong person. Someone capable of doing what it takes to make my life plan a reality. My parents raised me to be that way! They raised me to think for myself. To do for myself. But there was a problem with their teaching. They never taught me to do it without them.
Coming to this city made me realise how much I still need them in my life. I still need my Mother to check that I eat correctly. I still need to have my Father set up my electric stuff, or at least check that I have done it properly. I am 27yrs old and I still need to have them around. I didn’t think I did until I was walking through the final security check at Cape Town International airport.
I remember walking through that gate not knowing what I was going to do. Wanting only for my parents to do what they have always done in moments like that. I wanted them to take my hand and tell me it was all going to be okay. To tell me I was brave and strong. To tell me that no matter what, I was going to survive. I wanted to hug them!!! Have them hold me one last time.
Living in a foreign country has helped me to fully appreciate my parents. They are not perfect to say the least. Those two people are flawed. But their flaws are their beauty. I have come to realise that. I have forgiven them more than ever for things they have misunderstood. I know they forgive me too. Distance has helped me to fully grasp the wonders that are my Mother and Father.
Absence has helped my heart to grow fonder. Sitting in a different timezone, unable to call when ever I want to, has helped me to fully appreciate the hour long calls we have now. Now I tell them everything that goes on in my life. I tell them when I feel alone. I tell them when I am ecstatic. They tell me their news too. We are more than ever souls who cleave to each other.
When things have gone wrong here (and boy can things go very wrong in New York!!) it has been so tough. I have wanted to call home, but there is a 6hr time difference. I have wanted to have my Mother offer to come down and take care of me while I heal. For my Father to offer up his brand of solution.
The warmth of my Mother’s love and my Father’s rationality were the things that kept me safe from the world and its harms. Since we aren’t in the same country it has been tough to keep that feeling of safety. But I am slowly learning that is the point of growing up. You see, when I was at university I got to pretend to be grown up, while my parents made sure nothing really bad happened. But now that I am older and really on my own I see more and more that now, they are their to watch with hopefulness that all their previous life-buffering taught me something. They watch in wonder as I grow to be the human being I am met to be. I watch in amazement too! Their wisdom has not left me. They are always with me, wherever I may go in the world
Family, after protecting you from harm are there to witness and watch over your existence. So now I keep them close. In my heart and in my memories.