Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When Some Things Never Change.....Learn to Fly

It's Easter Sunday. It's one of my mom's sacred holidays where the family absolutely has to get together. No ifs, ands or buts. That is unless you live farther than walking or a few hours driving distance. Seeing as how that doesn't currently apply to me, her oldest, yet scarce daughter, I found myself at her house for two hours on Sunday. We exchanged the routine hugs, how are you's and I got a tour of the new renovations she's done to the place since I last visited. I got my younger brother's senior picture and a copy of the invitation to his high school graduation in May. Wasn't it was just yesterday that I was still fifteen and he was being born at Northern Colorado Medical Center? Well, sorry to burst your bubble sweetheart, but he's now three years past fifteen and you are soon headed towards Cougarville.

My sister arrived with my four year old nephew and her latest boyfriend. With the best of intentions, we tried to all sit down to a "nice, civil" dinner together. Maybe it's just me, but we really shouldn't try to have family time. We always end up starring in one of those bad scenes between the members of the Quartermaine family on General Hospital. You see, it starts out with "could you please pass the butter" and somehow digresses to "why couldn't you come to church this morning," "your eyebrows are getting too bushy," "I can't believe your plane is landing in Denver at 9:30 in the morning on the day of your brother's graduation," "I work full time and raise my son, so your life of 60 hour work weeks and grad school isn't that hard," and "why don't you get your teaching certificate and then you can write on the side."

You see, as hard as people try to change, somewhere inside they really don't. My mom still thinks I should force myself to attend church services because it's what she believes even though I don't. She still asks me how I'm going to support myself somewhere other than Colorado, even though I've done this before. The difference is I've learned from my mistakes. I know how to do it better this time. And most of all, she still doesn't view writing as a practical career choice, even though it's my passion and what I want to pursue more than ever. My sister, the one who never even went through undergrad, doesn't have a clue how hard college and grad school are; especially when you're juggling the intense workload "on the side." She doesn't know how hard I've worked to keep my 4.0 and how much effort and time go into having to get no less than a "B."

Her boyfriend, "D" stays silent through most of this. He's the only one I think who understands. Older men have a way of being wise, insightful observers at times. They also have a way of keeping themselves out of the fire. I'm glad that my sister finally has that kind of stability in her life. It reminds me of the stability that my soon to be ex has given me over the years.

Sometimes the difference between being an adult and a child is the willingness to not waver from what you truly want if you believe in it strongly enough. The opinions of others, even those of your close family, don't sway you in the opposite direction because you know better. As painful as it may be for them, you not only have wings, but you know how to use them. You know that there's no other choice but to use them. It's your purpose, your calling, your destiny. You wouldn't have them if it wasn't. They'll just have to watch you soar above their heads and maybe, just maybe, be inspired to grow some wings of their own.

Hopefully those wings won't be broken after seeing my long lost grandmother from California for the third time on my brother's graduation day. I guess she figured the oldest and the youngest were the only two she needed to see walk the stage. Regardless, it's sure to be quite the fireworks show the week she's in town. A sort of Fourth of July preview, but scarier.

Perhaps I'll think about taking a practice flight or two while she's here. You never can tell when the wind's going to pick up enough to carry you to your next destination.


  1. Thanks Helen for sharing about a delicate topic, but one that has also been thorny for me. My dear mother is learning to respect who I am, but in my case, I had to move overseas in order to mark my independence. I've always felt like the alien in my family.

    P.S. I like how you describe yourself as "the scarce daughter"

  2. Thanks Vincent! Yep, I've always felt like the "alien" too. =)