Around the time I got married and settled into life in the Netherlands, people told me I would miss my parents less and less with every year.
But the opposite proved to be true. As the years go by I miss them more and more. And it is getting worse. I miss them both as my parents, and as grandparents for my children.
I spent the first 6 years of my life in a one-room apartment in a huge Soviet-style komunalka. My family had no car or fancy appliances. We didn’t take vacations in exotic (or even non-exotic) lands.
It may sound bizarre, but delicacies like bananas and tangerines were something we enjoyed on special occasions like New Year’s or birthday parties.
We weren’t poor by any means. We were just an average Soviet family — the same as everyone else.
And yet despite the size of our house (or the scarcity of tropical fruit), I can say with the fullness of my heart that I had the best childhood in the world.
You know why? Because I was loved.
Both my mom and dad worked full-time, so I was in the kindergarten (loved it!) for half of the day. But somehow, I still remember them both being fully involved in our (me and my sister) lives.
They were present. They listened. They were goofy and silly with us. They cried and laughed with us. They read all sorts of cool books to us, and they played with us. They kissed us and hugged us. They took us places every weekend; we regularly went to the cinema to watch fascinating Bollywood movies and funny cartoons (almost everyone did — the tickets were very cheap).
I’m lucky and so very thankful for the parents that I have. They have always been there for my sister and me.
And now, being married and having children, I am even more grateful. I know how difficult it is to be a parent, how many sacrifices one makes to keep one’s children happy and healthy and what an ungrateful business it is. (At least for the first 15 years or so, I was told).
My parents did it well. They were not perfect at all. They made mistakes, for sure. But boy did they do their best.
And they did it without fancy diapers, without family living next door, without a big paycheck, without so much that so many of us do have these days, and often take for granted.
Not to mention the collapse of the USSR and the crazy $#*! that hit the fan, making lives even more difficult for so many hard-working, good people trying to survive without any guarantee for anything for them or their families.
And mom and dad pushed through it all. Yes, with ups and downs. But they did, and I’m so proud of them.
Oh, how much I miss them.
I miss them.
I miss them.
I miss them so much.
If only they could see my heart and how much love and appreciation is in it. I wish they could feel my soul yearning for the comfort of their presence.
Heck, I am 35, and still, when I get sick I just want my mom to be here and pamper me. In these moments of weakness, I want to be a little girl who’s safe and is being taken care of.
The reality of time and growing up is hitting me hard. All my grandparents have passed away. My parents are getting older. Visibly too. It breaks my heart. I want to stop time and freeze the happy moments and somehow make them last forever.
One day at a time. I am taking one WhatsApp message and video call at a time. I am savoring them. Taking in the technological luxury we have to “see” each other often, to say something meaningful, to make each other laugh.
I am conscious of every day lived with my parents still alive, almost healthy and very happy.
God help me to be such a loving, devoted forgiving sacrificial fun parent like my mom and dad.