Tonight, my parents were late picking me up for pizza night, and because they are never late, I tried calling them, and there was no answer. Then I heard a siren, and I started having these wild fears that they got in a car accident, and I became deeply worried and sad. I called my grandma and it turned out they were in a movie. But that feeling of my parents’ mortality was so heavy that I wanted to cry. When my parents arrived and picked me up and I told them about my fears, they apologized and then they said, “That’s how it feels to be a parent.” I’d never really felt that before. I remember reading somewhere “To be a mother is to always have tears behind your eyes.”
We had a nice dinner together. I read them some things I’d been writing and they were genuinely proud, and my dad said, “That’s also how it feels to be a parent.” To have those joys, right alongside the fear and sorrow. The older I get, it seems, the more sensitive I become to these things. My love for family, and for friends, is made more intense by the prospect of loss, of mortality. It is a strange mixture of love and sadness and joy that I can’t exactly describe, but I felt compelled to try to write it. Once, when I was going through a really difficult time, I remember my brother gave me a card that simply said, “I’m glad you’re alive.” That is exactly how I feel about my family. I’m glad they are alive. Which is another way of saying…I love them.