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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Mom And Dad To The Rescue

It’s never too late to make changes

by j. brotherlove

So I called my mom last week to help center my thoughts. Maybe it’s her voice or the fact that I love her so much but she tends to make me feel better - although, it’s usually in an indirect way. I don’t always reveal my cards yet she can “sense” when I’m uneasy and usually says something that has little to do with what I’m going through but nevertheless applies.

Anyway, I expected our conversation to go as it normally does: A little bit of catching up and some kind words. I was surprised. My mom was in a bad space. She is tired of living in Chicago, most of her friends and family have moved or passed away and my father is always out of the house doing his thing. In short, she sits in the house all day doing little more than nothing and she is sick of it. She wants to move; somewhere south. Most probably, someplace near Atlanta. Maybe, Alabama. Maybe, South Carolina.

I am so excited about this possibility. Not only will my folks be closer but they will be improving their quality of life. I’ve been trying to get my parents to move for years. They’ve long since outgrown their neighborhood. We were the first black family to move into that area of Chicago like, 25 years ago. Over the decades, the neighborhood has changed so much it’s now a few steps above “the ghetto”. My folks are very quiet and simple people; too old to deal with the noise and crime of the neighborhood. Or so my speech went. But my father, quintessentially frugal, said they weren’t going anywhere. He’s retired, the house is paid for, and he doesn’t have the money to move.

Well, my mother’s happiness seems to have changed his mind because he is busily researching properties on the internet. That’s right, my folks may be moving on south closer to their two sons in Atlanta. How cool is that? There’s no ETA at this time. My sister-in-law is scheduled to have her first baby in November and my folks will be here to do the grandparent thing. They will take a separate trip to look at homes and areas.

In fact, My mom is in South Carolina now for a couple of weeks for some much needed R&R with her aunt. I’m riding up there this weekend to visit. I’m flirting with making a mini-vacation out of it and staying in Charlotte. Anything happening in Charlotte this weekend? Or, ever?

Now, my folks didn’t stop there with the surprises. While my mom was lamenting about how her life consists of staying in the house watching television because she doesn’t have anyone to talk to, I chimed in that I do pretty much the same thing. She didn’t believe me. I confessed that in the five years since I’ve lived in Atlanta, I haven’t really made any friends (except Wood). Again, disbelief from my mother. “You always had a lot of friends growing up ‘cause you make then so easy.” Well, not anymore, I told her and it was getting me down that my life is so boring. My mom promptly got onto her soapbox and essentially told me I have to live for myself and get out and meet people; she’d accept nothing less. I conceded and said goodbye since I was at work and didn’t want to go into the ugly cry. But I thought about her words all day. That evening, while I was taking my afterwork nap, my mom called back. “I just wanted to check on you,” she said. I ensured her I was fine. Then she added, suddenly, “Here, your father wants to talk to you.”

It’s important to note that my father has always been somewhat emotionally distant as I was growing up - not uncommon in black families. He was always the disciplinarian and had the last word on any topic. It wouldn’t be a stretch to admit my brother and I thought we hated my father because he was so mean and strict (you can read an account of my father’s no-nonsense approach to child-rearing here).

But now my father is older and softer. He still doesn’t initiate phone calls but he jokes, asks how my lover is doing and is genuinely an interesting guy. Still, I wasn’t prepared when he took the phone from my mom. The older version of my father maybe softer but he’s still direct.

“Your mother says you’re depressed and you don’t have any friends.” *dead* My mother is so dramatic and I can only imagine how she recounted our conversation to my father. Before I could correct my father’s exaggerated accusation he got on his soapbox (which remarkably resembled my mother’s soapbox) and reiterated how wonderful I am and how people like me and how I should have tons of friends and my happiness should come before anybody else, including Loverboy.

Um, okay.

I was pretty much speechless and blown away with their telephonic “rescue mission”. But most of all, I was overwhelmed by my folk’s passion for me to lead a happy life - whatever happy means to me. They really do rock. Still, I’m relieved they are considering a new home close enough to drive to but not close enough to pop over. I don’t think I could take that much love on the regular.

pub: 09/21/2004 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 10 | subscribe

No matter how old you get, you never stop being your parents’ child. And sometimes that can be a good thing.

T&M do rule, that’s a fact. It would be great having them down here. I’m all for that. Definitely.

on parents…

they are amazing aren’t they? my moms was up for a visit last week and i had the best time chauffeuring her around new york city. i’m glad you reached out, and they reached back. and i’m even more excited to hear they actually know their son, and want the best for him. that in and of itself rules!

on friends…

the older i get the less friendships I gain or seem able to maintain. one has to put in so much work to be a friend. to be a “good” friend it seems you do have to be superman. all of this has made me realize that i am indeed a friend to all those that need me. i’m just not that “friendly”. i.e., i don’t do all the things necessary to maintain the connection two friends need. like, answering the phone…but then again, i am working on it…

as usual, love your words.

4. Nix

hey there,
i miss good talks with your mom.
and i miss you too. i tell ya, i do appreciate my parents now moreso than when we were growing up and i was never in the house. it is nice to still live near them.
as far as friends, it i hard to keep new ones, and as i get olde, i stay in mny old drama, i neglect to ask the ones that i haev, like you how they are, ya know the little talks, like we used to have.

luv, Nix

how sweet the parents will be closer to you. nothing like having your parents around. when yall have thanksgiving dinner invite me i want to be apart of your family i love to get my eat on especially soulfood!

My mother was recently the catalyst for one of the few crying spells that I’ve had in my life. I had just been fired and was still kinda hazy about my emotions - just trying to keep them together. My mother called and she knew something was wrong from jump, but I didn’t want her to worry about me. I also didn’t really want to talk about losing my job again - among other things, I was still processing Aaron’s suicide. We talked about that for a minute. I just wanted her to know that I loved her while I still had breath to say it. It’s that sentiment that washed over me and hit me like a truck that got me to crying - I mean deep diaphragm-wracking sobs. Always cathartic, those …

*deep breath!*

“… you’re never too FAAAAAAAAAAR!”

7. raven

Nothing beats love from your parents. Your folks sound like they’re really great!

I wish I had parents that I wanted closer.

That is definitely priceless!

OMG your mom and dad sound JUST LIKE MINE…you don’t think…we’re BROTHERS!??!