As a person you evolve. It is not possible for you to remain the same, you get older, wiser, more experienced. As you progress in age and in wisdom, you should never feel like you want to be 16 again, or 18, or 20 or 23 or 45 or 78. Better yet, you should feel blessed for being able to get a year older, move forward, experience things with different intensities.
About a year ago I started to run and let me tell you, man was it painful. So painful indeed, I felt it for days and days. My abs were unforgiving and so were my arms and last but not least, my legs. Because when you run, you train your entire body, not just your legs. You train your mind as well, because that is what keeps you going, not your leg-muscles. I had a fever that night, because I was just not used to that kind of exercise, or any kind of exercise for that matter. And running is not like walking, you use different parts of your body for walking and different parts for running, that might not sound right, but it is. My dad was running next to me, and I want to say, he never in his life ran so slow, like ever, but then again, my dad has been running for the last 16 years, so what he experiences now as being slow, was probably his normal speed back in the day (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
I think that day he realized that the person, that he knew a few years ago, is not the same anymore. I think, that is the moment he realized that I for one, are very different from my brothers. My brothers are more into team-sports, basketball and football (European that is…) and what not, I have no talent what so ever in handling any sort of round device while running, I mean seriously, I can do one thing or the other, NOT BOTH. My eye-arm-leg-coordination is just so horrible, you’d be better off, telling me to run up and down the field about 4.000 times. It is still a wonder, that I know how to drive a stick-shift car. That too, my dad taught me, the very first time I “parked” the car, I did a 180 on a highway, on purpose. It was not my dad’s intention for me to do so, but I understood from what he said, that this is what I was supposed to do, which clearly I wasn’t and if a policeman would have been close, I am sure, they would have never in a million years given me my driver’s license. My dad didn’t talk to me for days, he thought it best, not to talk about this instance, ever again.
The moment my dad dropped me off at the airport, the very first time I went to the U.S., his heart was heavy, I knew that, but I think he was trying to stay strong, so my mom wouldn’t completely melt down. After all, I am their only daughter and I chose to move so far away, that weekend-visits were not in the cards. I think in the end, my dad was not proud of me, for deciding to move so far away, but to stick to my decision and following through. And although my entire family was really looking forward to me moving back home after a year’s time, I believe that somehow they all knew, that I was going to stay longer, it was an unfinished business kind of thing. But they were even happier, the day I did come back.
When I called my parents on October 16th last year, they were in shock for about a month and a half. All our conversations would end in a deep, awkward silence. October 16th was the day I told them, that A and I were getting married. It was the first phone call I made that night, and my mom was crying, like there was no tomorrow.
To this day, I wish there was a different phone call I could have made that same day. My heart was heavy as I scrolled through my phone list, only to discover that the number I so badly wanted to be connected to has been disconnected. Instead I called a different number, it was late, and usually he wouldn’t pick up the phone, but he did that day and I told him about A and my engagement and he laughed. My grandpa laughed, and then he stopped, he took a breather and then said, “I wish your grandma would have been still alive to experience this” – you and me both. He trailed off into a different world, I don’t think he was listening to himself, as he told me how he and my grandma were talking about our wedding, and how much she was hoping to be able to attend. He told me that it was one of her last wishes. I asked him why he didn’t tell me before, why he waited until I did get engaged, a year later and he told me, that it wouldn’t have been right, it was her wish for you not her wish for herself.
A few years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I was living in the US, it was a couple months after I moved there, I called my grandpa around midnight to wish them a very happy New Year and he said, “You know, it ain’t a happy New Year, without you being here. We are all like a chain and when a link is missing, the whole chain is weak. I wish you were here”.
I love my family and their backwards thinking, saying the one thing, doing another. Keeping their most precious hopes to themselves, for someone else to discover them years later. My family has always been like that, it’s okay, I think in a way every family is a bit twisted. In a way, that’s the beauty of having a family, because you appreciate them for what they are and how they have made you the person you are. I guess, my point is, I love my family and although sometimes they cannot be part of something that is important to you, somehow they are always with you, even if you cannot see them.