Late today, I had to remember who I was. When one visits one’s parents, I think you automatically become who they knew you to be. But, it might not be who you are.
For 21 years, my parents and I have lived in states separated by almost one thousand miles. During that time, I’ve had two more children, changed careers, became a master gardener volunteer, been an avid volunteer in education, became a student advocate, became a community educator, presented at conferences, started a blog, worked at a non-profit and went back to graduate school for a second advanced degree in another profession. Essentially, I am a different person than the person they knew me to be.
It’s okay. I understand how and why this happened. And, I don’t think it is all that unusual. But, it doesn’t make it any easier on my heart, just because my head understands.
I am smart, perhaps even considered a gifted adult by some standards. I know I have many of those intensities and characteristics known to be possessed by the gifted population. While my parents know that about me, somehow I still feel like I have to prove myself to them. I feel this way because no longer am I asked for my professional opinion. I was a nurse and nurse practitioner. I understand how healthcare, as a system, works. Considering that we are amidst a pandemic, it doesn’t make much sense that my opinion is not sought. I am a master gardener. Yet, I am no longer asked for my opinion on growing things and how to get the most from a harvest. Foremost, I am an educator. But, my my parents do not know me in that role at all. So, it is never referred to in conversation.
I consider myself to be an educator, a writer, a jewelry designer, and student advocate. I am a parent of three successful adult children, just as they are parents of two such women. But, none of that seems to matter.
To my parents, I am still their child. I am still their skinny 17 year old girl who went to college for nursing. They do not know much of the events that have have shaped me over the last 50 years. I am now 57. I am a different person, shaped by my life experience. I am who I am.
That’s it. I was 17.
I am now 57. While I love my parents, I do not think they know me now. That’s sad.
Maybe there’s still time to fix it.