During the last two years of high school, it seemed my parents and I never got along. I felt so misunderstood by them. I just wanted to grow up and do my own thing, but I felt my parents still treating me like a child.
Our personalities were constantly clashing. It seemed like we were always fighting and screaming at each other. I just couldn’t wait to leave. For months, I was counting down the days until I could move away.
I decided to go to a college that was ten hours and two states away from home. I hadn’t originally planned on moving so far away, but I felt called to go to this particular school even though it was so far from everything I knew.
When I first decided to move two states away, my family thought I had lost my mind. They couldn’t understand why I would want to move so far away. Up until then, the farthest someone had moved in our family was only an hour away. But I knew if I stayed home, my relationship with my parents would continue to spiral out of control.
That next year was one of the hardest of my life. My parents tended to see my attempts to become more independent as rejection. After I told them I was not moving back home because I was marrying a man they hardly knew, tensions got really high. My parents were acting out of love and concern for me, but I wanted to be treated like the responsible adult I was working to become.
We couldn’t have a conversation without arguing. But eventually the separation started to heal our hearts. I would tell them how happy I was being married to my kind, loving husband. They started to see that I was making good decisions as I entered another stage in my life. It was a slow transition, and not one without struggles, but we were all starting to get on the same page.
The real breakthrough moment came suddenly and unexpectedly. My parents came for a visit after I had my first child, their first grandchild. That week was one of the best weeks I have ever had with my parents. They could see for themselves that I was okay, that I was happy. I wasn’t a kid anymore. I was a wife and mother. I didn’t need to lean on them financially or emotionally. I could stand on my own. They came to respect and accept the adult I had become.
From that point forward, we have done nothing but grow closer and closer even though we live so far apart. Every day we make sure to communicate whether it’s a text, a phone call, or emailing a cute picture of my kids. Before we would just have small talk about nothing and continue with our day. Now we share are struggles and our joys. Not only do we talk a lot more, but our conversations are so much more meaningful.
Distance helped me to see my parents with clear eyes and an open heart. The physical separation allowed me to see my family in a whole new light because I wasn’t so caught up in day-to-day struggles or miscommunications with them. I was able to see my parents’ true character— how loving and caring they are. I began to appreciate what a kind woman my mom is and how hard my dad works to support his family.
Reconciling with my parents has brought so much more love into our family. Instead of it just being my husband, myself, and our children, we have parents that can come visit and love on us as well. Living ten hours away from the closest family member has made me value my time with them more than ever. They now come out every couple of months to visit, and we have a blast every time they are here. It’s hard to see them go. Despite the distance, our relationship is better than ever. Our hearts continue to grow closer because we’ve grown to love and appreciate each other for who we are.