My mom is irreplaceable because she'll spend hours wading in the minutiae with me, discussing and analyzing and looking at the Subject of the Day from every angle. My dad is irreplaceable because he'll come in, without ever hearing 95% of the minutiae, and spit some truth so potent I often wonder if he was eavesdropping the entire time. (He wasn't--he was watching NASCAR in the other room.)
On the way out to camp to learn to shoot over Christmas, my dad mentioned a conversation he'd had with a family friend, who had asked about my life in Chicago: Was I dating? Would I stay there? What was to become of my future?
That last question obviously wasn't verbatim, but tells you a little bit about the tone of this inquiry. Just enough 'concern' to make you wonder what questions weren't being asked: Wasn't I going to settle down? Who would take care of me?
I'm almost 30. I'm single. I'm a writer by trade. In the non-profit sector. And I'm selling my house. I'm basically blowing in the wind. In some parts, that's cause for concern, a life trajectory unknown. Some folks are not so comfortable with that.
Emily McDowell is a greeting card genius.
My dad's answer astounded me.
"We don't worry about Bobbi," he said. "She is going to do what makes her happy. She's not going to get married just to be married. She's going to pursue happiness, and whether that's living alone in an apartment in the city with her dog, or moving to a different country, we're happy for her and will help in any way we can. She's not ever going to settle. And if she's happy, we're happy."
We don't worry about Bobbi.
You know this kills me, right to my core. Not because I want them to worry. Not because I think they don't care, or aren't interested in every twist and turn. And definitely not because I think they've given up on me.
It kills me because it is a simple, prideful statement, one that both of my parents have felt for longer than I could imagine. They believe in me. They don't doubt I'll get the life I want...whatever that looks like. They don't worry when I don't know what it looks like. They trust me when I do.
I've already made them proud. They're just happy I'm pursuing. I am who I am because they encouraged me, and I've already delivered on their dreams for me: the relentless, stubborn, ardent pursuit of what makes me happy.
And they're very good with the reminders. Each year, my mom picks out the perfect Valentine's Day card, painstakingly crossing out each single pronoun and replacing it: We love you, You make us so proud, Happy Valentine's day to you from us. This year, before signing "Love, Mom and Dad", my mom wrote:
"We've said it a thousand times and we'll say it again. We're so proud of you. Keep finding your path in life, and you'll always have family at home to support you."
Keep finding your path.
Looking at what remains on my list, I'm no longer in any rush.
I'd like to have my own kayak, someday.
I'll visit my 6th (and 7th, and 8th, and so on) country, someday.
I'm going to rock the shit out of some Jewel on the guitar, someday.
I'll be completely out of debt, someday.
I don't have any doubts about it. I'm not worried about Bobbi. I'm finding my path.