Dear Mom and Dad,
I remember leaving. I was 18, and so glad to be on my own. You two were already grown. I didn’t really give you any thought. As if my next steps would have any impact on you–my parents. I was about me.
Today I was at the airport. I watched Baby Bear walk away from me to get on that big metal bird to the mountains. Where he lives.
So, Mom and Dad, I have some questions. Did your heart break when I drove away? Every time? Did you wonder if I was going to be okay? Were you conflicted by your amazement of your spawn functioning without you and your worry that you couldn’t protect me?
Did this ever stop? These feelings of an ever-alert, yet redundant, guard dog? Was I always your kid? Your baby, in your heart? Did you whiplash when conversing with a grownup while stuffing protective impulses back inside you before I noticed? I know you know that I would have insisted, again, that I was an adult and didn’t need anything.
Did you wonder if you were doing enough? Too much? Did you worry about respecting my autonomy? Did you worry if I was paying my bills? Drinking too much? Breaking a heart? Getting my heart broken?
When I was starting out and job hopping, did you think I was making mistakes? Wonder if I was carrying health insurance? Saving for retirement? Paying my mortgage? Getting up on time for work?
Did you think that I was able to balance being a parent and breadwinner? Did you look at me looking at you in your hospital bed and think about how you being in that bed was affecting me?
I never thought about how you felt about me. Not from the point of view of a parent. Not until today. I’m sorry for not seeing this. It’s crazy love.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Your (grown) Child