I only lived with my parents for twelve years. For variety of self inflicted reasons I was shipped off at early age to live with my maternal and paternal grandparents, and then I immigrated after that. I’ve always considered that historical context to be one of the main reasons as to why I have a tendency to fortify what my parents might have imagined for me. Often times, when my parents want me to do something specific with my personal life, I only do the part I can do from my computer.
I met Irna back in 1998. She was my coworker. She was very straightforward. After a couple of months we ended up going out on a date. At the end of the dinner on the first date, she let me know that she wanted to get married. She shared that wish while she was having a cupcake at the end of the dinner. Though she seemed very smart and beautiful, I remember my initial and implicit reaction featured reluctance, mainly because I didn’t like the way she ate the cupcake. That’s how we made decisions back in Canada.
A couple of years passed and all of our friends got married. We went to countless weddings together and played flawless we-are-a-beautiful-couple. But make no mistake the pressure was on and so I sheepishly decided to initiate an appropriate conversation to gauge her interest. Only, to find out that she needed to consult with her mother. The next day, her mother showed up at my work and seemed like a person who had been kicked by a drunken horse. She then offered to take me out to lunch. During lunch she opened up the conversation and set out an impossible set of requirements. For some odd reason, she kept finishing each requirement by saying “if you’re interested in Irna”, which I found to be probing. I quietly listened to what she had to say. My only defense mechanism was a smartass stare from the corner of my eyes while my head formed a 45-degree angle towards her. In an awkward moment of silence, she seemed as if she was waiting for me to say something, but I just called the waitress and ordered a cupcake.
Parents raise their children to make them a part of the future. Parents know so well they won’t be alive to see a big part of that future. The irony with first generation immigrants hides beneath the fact that they’ve chosen to leave their past in hope of a better future, but sadly when it comes to their children, they force back that abandoned past into the wishful future of their children.
Parents are amongst the most important people in our lives. But that doesn’t warrant a blindfolded relationship where they tell, and we get told. There should be room for reasonable discourse and pragmatic give and take. If I had listened to my parents when I was younger, I could have never been able to do this part on my computer. More importantly, there would be no opportunity to discuss relationship issues while having cupcakes.