When you're younger, your parents are the sources of all things good, and unfortunately many things bad. They tell you to you can't go out, ground you when they find your hidden stash of alcohol-filled water bottles hidden under your bed, and make sure you are on their idea of the "right track." They piss you off and claim that they do the things they do out of love when it seems like they are just trying to be controlling or spiteful. Everything begins to change as you enter your teen years and become more aware of how the world works. The strictness of your parents is less of an irritation and more of something that is viewed as a protection from the pain and struggles they went through at your age. You tell yourself that you are nothing like your parents, yet as time passes, you find yourself resembling them in uncanny ways that both scare you to death and kind of make you happy to know you share an explainable bond.
College is a period of complete liberation, at least it was in my case. Granted I was and am reliant on my parents for tuition help and a monthly allowance, but as I begin to establish myself as a businessman, the relationship and understanding of my parents is shifting yet again. The control they had over me as a little child is viewed less like control and more of an appreciation in knowing that there is someone out there thinking of you, someone out there loving you unconditionally, someone out there who cares. Rather than hiding your drunken high school escapades, you share a bottle of wine with them during winter break and are able to see them in an entirely different light.
To me, my parents are people who have been through some serious life events (took out a profanity thanks in part to the suggestion of my father... ). Trauma they have tried so desperately to shield me from as I grow and develop as a person, is explained to me in a way where I can truly understand it. The stories they would never tell you as a child expose a new light into how their parents have shaped who they have become today. Rather than having them tell me what to do, there is a mutual understanding that I am now old enough where I simply am going to do what I am going to do, whether they like it or not. The importance of control decreases with age, especially as your financial dependence becomes less of a factor. Your parents are out there living their lives just as you are living yours. They experience the same emotions in their work, relationships, and life that you do. The hissy fits of childhood are displaced by conversations of how to handle problems they went through as you develop into the person that you want to be, a person your parents are proud of.
It's a really cool thing being able to see your parents in this newfound light. They see you for the individual you are becoming rather than the product of their own creation. You learn as much from them as they do from you. So much of them has been invested in you, but you are so much your own person. I find no bigger pleasure in life than being able to shoot the shit with my parents and look back at how and why they did the things that they did. Knowing that they had no fucking clue what they were doing as they raised you is strangely comfortable as thoughts of starting a family begin to blossom in your own head. There is know manual for life, they relied on their parents just as you are going to rely on them in the years to come.
While the fights will most likely never end, this changing relationship of initially seeing your parents as parents, to seeing your parents as friends and mentors is such a beautiful process. They often know you better than anyone else and, chances are, they will know what is truly best for you in the future. Take their advice, or at least take the time to listen to what they have to say. So mom, dad, thanks. Thanks for tolerating my tantrums, my brattiness, my ups and downs. You guys have and will hopefully continue to support and be there for me as I leave your world and start to create a world of my very own.
"Greggo the Eggo"