Families, like compost heaps, are best appreciated from a distance.
I love my parents, and they love me. I see myself in them, and aspire to be like them: steady. strong, loving, enthusiastic, adventuresome, self-effacing. We all look forward to being together and catching up. When I’m walking to greet them for the first time, my gait quickens and a grin involuntarily covers my face, and I give them both big, warm hugs. So why is it that almost everything they say or do is a grating, torturous assault on my senses? Is it that we’re very similar, and that I don’t like myself? Is it that we’ve just spent too much time together; that our account is empty? Well what, then?
When I first left home, I was sure that my family had failed me, and that it had come far short of any profitable definition of ‘family’. But as I got a little older, I repented of my ungrateful punk-hood and realized that I come from an exceptional family. I am quite sure that I could never provide such a fertile environment for anyone else. This I affirm with my whole heart, even as I write this. But in a couple of hours, I’ll see my folks again, and all of these right thoughts will fall to the ground.
This is a mystery to me.