Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parents Just Don't Understand

Yes, yes, yes. If we haven't all said it out loud, I'm sure we've at least thought it a few dozen one time or another. What don't they understand? Well, I'm sure everything at one point or another. Growing up it was mostly the usuals: they don't understand curfews, or what all the other parents are doing, they don't "get" fashion, how to work any piece of electronic equipment, and the list goes on and on. I hope my own parents can take this with a grain of salt and see where I am going with all of this. 
Tell 'em Will
I touch on this because last month I had my own conversation with my parents where "I just don't understand" was basically the thesis of our conversation. My boyfriend and I, as I've breezed over a couple times here, have made the decision to move in together once he moves to Philadelphia. Because I already know that my parents aren't really on the cohabitation bandwagon, I felt the need to address the obvious (and whether they'd like to admit it or not, what they knew was coming). Not so much a conversation to ask their permission more a courtesy to a) test the waters and b) to get any arguments out of the way early (which thankfully there were none). The conversation went very well actually, but as I talked honestly with my parents about our decision the "we don't understand it" part was a little hard to swallow. 

When I try to look at this particular situation from their perspective, what I do understand is that this just isn't how things operated when they were younger. At least for them, it just didn't happen this way. If you're committed enough to live together, why not just get married (they said, like this is what every 22 year old is thinking)? But moving in, sharing a space, an apartment, responsibilities, finances, a daily routine and a life essentially, isn't that enough (the young lady felt like screaming)?! Isn't that the same commitment? What is there not to understand? How are we not on the same page here?

And so the conversation went. Not in circles, I'd say looping is a better describer. I guess sometimes its just a draw. Agree to disagree. Luckily, I know my parents are always behind me 100% in whatever I choose to do, however I think its natural that we want our parents to be behind us because they understand our decisions and not just because they're our parents and love us unconditionally. Herein lies the problem when we hit that generational gap (sorry parents, have I made you all feel ancient yet?), and lets face it guys, sometimes parents just don't understand. Different generation, different values, different lenses. Insert dilemma: when do we have to (cover your ears parents) forgive the misunderstandings, stop listening to our parents and just trust ourselves?

For me, its a classic struggle of growing up and still wanting to be my parent's daughter. And I'm sure for many of you its the exact same thing--you want to appease your parents when you think of all the countless things they've done for you, given you and how they've supported you. On paper, you want to pay it back by making the decisions that they'd make...until you realize you don't. 

So what happens when you grow up and things get a little more complicated. When parents don't understand more than curfews and fashion and how to work the god damn DVD player (note: to protect the innocent I'm not saying this has actually happened in our household... but I'm also not denying it)? Where's the script for when you (gasp) grow up and realize that you don't agree on everything. You want to be respectful, but you just don't see eye to eye. The million dollar question: is there a time when you have to stop being your parents daughter in order to become all the other people you're destined to be? When you have to trust your own decisions as a girlfriend, a friend, an employee, a boss, as yourself and so on and so on and so on. Maybe you'll never get to be the best version of those people if you don't trust your own decisions and intuition, understood or not.

But isn't this the person your parents have taught you to be? I guess its all full circle, maybe parents really do understand. Maybe they knew this day would come all along.

1 comment:

  1. Snorted at "cohabitation bandwagon".

    And OMG - my word verification was HERPS. Swear to God.