I suppose I can’t really be sure whether I’m only home for a short enough time that there’s not enough time for things to blow up or whether I’ve matured enough to preserve my healthy self in a toxic environment. I hope it’s the latter. More likely, it’s a combination of both, possibly skewed towards the former —
I’m coming more to terms with the fact that my parents are people first and parents second: that being a parent was a role they played, but not their entire being. It’s having lived a summer as a bona fide, financially independent, solo adult playing her own one-dimensional roles out for certain people. It’s then having come home to a mother who is now a middle-aged single woman falling way too fast for a middle-aged single man, and although he seems like a wonderful person, it’s all too fast and too much and too middle-school naiveté all the same. It’s noticing that my father is now an aging single emotionally-stunted man with a twisted worldview that will never bring happiness or community, that perhaps if he’d been more lucky he’d have gone down in history books as some sort of crazy genius, but instead fishes every day and gives the catchings to friends he can’t bring himself to truly trust and is happiest when reliving small inventions of his childhood. They have been freed of the immediate role of parenting and have become people — and it’s taken me this long to see that, to treat them as damaged people and not adversary parents, to realize that I can give them love and understanding and support without being influenced by their toxic philosophies and fights.
It’s good to be away. Maybe it can also be good to be home.