02 January 2012

Filial Piety Practice

My goodness what a weird thing it is visiting the relatives! 

Every year for the last six I've brought my kids to visit my parents at New Year's.  They live about five and a half hours away, and this is our once-a-year pilgrimage to the ancestral grounds. 

Here, most of what I identify as part and parcel of my everyday life scores a big zilch on their meter.  Here, among these people, in this place, I am again their kid.  Here, for 48 hours, they and I return to conversations long since started and never quite ended.  Here, they being who they are, and I being who I am, some things don't get mentioned, some questions don't get asked, some names never come up. 

It's sufficiently pleasant, though, and there are laughs enough to go around.  We all like one another on some indescribable level.  Venture past five or ten sentences on a topic, however, and it's clear there's not much more to say.  Our respective places in the demographic pie chart are showing through.  They're in their 70's and in good enough health, but they are enough out of the bustle of the workaday world to not know about many things going on.  I've got my own mid-life quirks to me, of course, and the kids, now poised to be fully on their own, are establishing their own adult relationship with their grandparents.

In the end, I think the best thing about all this is that I have no chart, no bag of tricks, no quick maneuvers up my sleeve to rely on in navigating these days.  It really is a unique form of practice, even if practice seems like something foreign to this place, and I'm grateful for it in ways I can't begin to describe.

No comments:

Post a Comment