I remember when my parents became people. I’m assuming they’ve always been human beings… but there was a clear point in my young adulthood when I realized that my parents were people, with their own hopes and fears and experiences wholly separate from me.
The process began the first time I came home for Christmas after living in my first apartment for about a year. I had never had to “come home” before, I had always been there already. Coming home for a holiday made 19-year-old me feel very cool and grown up. Yes, parents, of course I will grace you with my presence to receive presents. You’re Welcome. This very cool feeling was short lived when I was shown to the guest room. GUEST? It didn’t feel like “coming home” in this guest room with it’s random bedspread and desk with not-my-stuff on it. It’s then when I started to realize that my “home” wasn’t really mine, it was my parents’. Given a bedroom with no regular tenant, they would decorate it and fill it with their preference of items, not MY preference. Of course they would! Hadn’t I decorated my entire one bedroom apartment to my own specifications? The moment when “home” became, “my parents’ house”, was the first notch in my “parents are people too” realization.
Have you ever had that moment, that vain little moment when you spend a little too long in front of the mirror, and you think, “Oh my gosh, that’s me. I’m me! I have thoughts in my head. Other people have their own thoughts in their own heads. Other people think things and I don’t hear them and they don’t hear mine.” Then a second of thankfulness for that fact, followed by some weirdness. It’s a rabbit hole leading to a black hole wrapped all up in a conundrum. So many brains out there just thinking their own thoughts. Beyond the hair raising self awareness that it might induce, I know those thoughts are important ones. It’s important to know that everyone is a person.
It seems silly and so simplistic when you write it out, but it’s something I think about a lot. My parents are people, my friends are people, my husband is a person, my son, my sweet little five year old, has an entire collection of memories, most of which I experienced too, that are entirely from his own point of view. And that’s weird, and awesome, and I’ll never really “get it” because I’m stuck in my own brain.