01 August 2008

Visiting Mom and Dad

I'm taking a break from packing for the trip I'm about to take tomorrow.

I'm anxious, in every sense of the word, about it: I am eager yet nervous, for this may be the second-most important trip of my life.

OK, I'll stop building up drama. Where am I going and what am I going to do, you ask?

To the first part of the question, the answer is "Florida." I have been there many times; so, one would think, I shouldn't feel as much anticipation and anxiety as I feel now.

However, answering the first part of the question will begin to explain what I'm feeling. I'm going to see my parents. Again, that seemingly routine encounter shouldn't make me nervous.

Except that it won't be so routine this time. I talk to them every week, sometimes even more often than that. But this is the first time I'll be seeing them in the flesh in three years. And, this will be my visit with them, on their turf, since I began my transition. During my last visit, five years ago, I "came out" to them.

Although we've remained in regular contact, and they--especially my mother--have been helpful and supportive--it might've been easier for them if they had seen me more often, and for longer periods of time. My mother says as much. Back when they were living in New Jersey and I was in New York, sometimes I'd see them every month. Rarely would more than a couple of months pass without our getting together.

But now, things are different. Of course, that would have been the case no matter what: It's hard to visit so often when they're about 1000 miles away. Even so, I used to see them at Christmastime and maybe one other time--usually during spring break or at the end of the school year--during the year.

I'd spend a few days, sometimes a week--as I will on this trip--with them. My last trip there was a long weekend in the middle of November. The last time I spent a whole week there was probably about seven or eight years ago, maybe longer.

It's not that I dread spending so much time with them. Rather, I'm a bit nervous because, not having spent so much time with them in so long, I wonder what it will be like. Will they feel uncomfortable with me? Will they find that my worst qualities haven't changed? Or...

Well, they wanted me to come down. Mom said she and Dad were talking about it right before I asked about taking trip down there. I think they want to spend some time with me now--to reacquaint, you might say. They have volunteered to accompany me to my surgery, so maybe they want to see what they're getting themselves into. I know that I'd like to spend some time with them before the surgery (and after, of course.) After all, they'll be with me for a week when I'm in the hospital. Then I'm going to spend two weeks with them as I recover from the surgery. I don't think we've spent that much time together since I moved out.

On one hand, I feel confident: After all, they want me to come down and to accompany me to my surgery. On the other hand...Well, what's on the other hand? I guess that's what's making me anxious--not knowing. Maybe they'll think I've gotten fat or am not as pretty or feminine as they, or most any parents, would like a daughter to be. Or that, at age 50, I should've accomplished more.

Maybe they'll think those things. They've thought worse things before, I'm sure. Yet here I am, getting ready to get on a plane to see them, and anticipating their company during my surgery.

And I'll be there for Mom's birthday. I won't tell you how old she's going to be!

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