Being Adult Children

When I was young, I always consider my mom and dad to be the same person. Everything that one knew, the other knew too. I knew obviously that they were different people and had different personalities—my mom, who emigrated later in life, was more fobby and always said what was on her mind. My dad, emigrated barely out of his teens, was Americanized and worked at a very corporate job, embodied more quiet, introspective, highly educated view of the world. And yet, they symbolized the typical annoying parents as a teenager. Like…just get out of my way!

Of course, when I entered my mid-twenties, it felt like things started to shift. That they were individuals. And perhaps by that point, they trusted that I was an independent person, full of my thoughts and feelings. Well, at least, some of the time. As my grandparents grew older, sicker, and passed, my relationship with them evolved. And my mom got sick, it became something else: I had to take the parental role.

Well, not in the full caregiver capacity yet. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was noticeably distressed. They were both retired, but they moaned about not being able to do things. My grandmother, the last of her generation in my family, had just passed in December 2019 and that opened the door to freedom. But of course, the pandemic arrived and now they were trapped. Of course, cruises, their usual choice of freedom, were just not open. But regardless, after my frantic doomscrolling of Twitter and Facebook, I admonished them for going to the Chinatown grocery stories—a fear I realize that was unwarranted, thinking that small stores were not as good in containing virus and bleeding into the whole idea that those places were unclean, unsanitary. Instead, I said delivery! I referenced the fact that big chain stores had early opening hours—go there, you’ll qualify because you’re over 65. Or have it delivered! I was exhausted and sent them an episode from the Daily about the horrors from Italy.

What thoughts I had.

Now it’s just tech support from afar. They have both been completely vaccinated. But the awareness of anti-asian hate has risen. The idea that someone could walk around and could be pushed is daunting. I don’t like to hand hold people through things. But for them, maybe I would? Should I? I don’t know.

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