Spending Father’s Day with Perfect Strangers
Independence can be a beautiful thing. I only needed about one day into my first semester of college to figure that one out. No parents, no rules. The dream of every angsty 18-year-old. The novelty of no curfews and the opportunity to get that piercing you’ve always wanted, however, does eventually wear off. Fast forward to the post grad lifestyle and you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you still don’t, NSTAR will certainly remind you.
Electrical bills aside, one of the hardest parts of living by your lonesome is being away from family. A complete 180 of my mindset back in 2008. It’s not that I’m suddenly home sick (sorry Mom), but there are some days that pop up when you wish you could be surrounded by that particular group of humans fate so kindly selected for you.
Yesterday, being Father’s Day, was one of them.
I didn’t realize this upon waking up but I came across a moment in the Boston Public Garden that warmed up the daughter inside of me.
Book in hand, I trekked to the bank of the Garden lagoon to take in a little June sun. Not three minutes after I sat down, they parked next. Them. The perfect family. Father, older son, mother, middle daughter, younger boy. All sitting in a row in descending height order- combed and pressed. It was like being in a Cheerios commercial. My interest was piqued.
Then came the charades and each would stand up and act out someone or something. Now, these kids looked about 13, 10 and 8. You would think they would be imitating Carly Rae Jepsen or Count Chocula. Oh no. This was Super Family. One by one, I heard them shout out, “Bach!” “The Thinker!” “Washington!”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked up my copy of Fifty Shades to fantasize elsewhere about Mr. Christian Grey.
Don’t get me wrong. They looked like they were enjoying their Father’s Day and very much loving each others’ company. One big ol’ happy family. I just couldn’t help but think how that is the furthest from reality among my own clan.
My family would never be featured in a cereal commercial. On family trips, we tailgate people who go the speed limit in the left lane. We take glassware from restaurants. We bust each others balls. We do not play charades in public.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s not easy to truly appreciate everyday things, especially when we’re young. They are taken for granted, they embarrass you when they pick you up at school dances, they cry an excessive amount when they drop you off at the airport/dorm/in front of your friends.
Sometimes it’s the distance apart that shows you how much you need them, how life is less colorful without them, how there are less people to make fun of when they’re not around. How much you really, admit it or not, do love them.
As much as I wish I could’ve celebrated with my family, I’m kind of glad I spent a little time seeing how the other half lives. The perfect ones. It was a nice reminder of what I actually have and how awesome they are.
Go ahead, spend some time with “perfect strangers.” You may learn something. You might have your own little epiphany. But even if you don’t, it will feel like you’re living a Twilight Zone episode which could be pretty cool all the same.