I always associated this saying with a relationship, a partnership. It's a phrase your friends say to re-assure you that long distance will work out. It's almost as ineffective as, "everything will work out in the end." I've never found substance in this saying, if anything absence frustrates me.
Now, my parents. When I really stop to look at my relationship with my Mum and my Dad, that's when I realise I miss them more than anything (more than ever before). They're the first people you would see waking up in the morning, and the last people you would kiss goodnight. They're the ones you complain to, you shout at, you argue with, you provoke and love unconditionally. They're the ones you call first. You can be at home for five minutes and everything they do or say will drive you crazy but as soon as you leave, you're counting the days until you can go home. I am very fortunate and I guess this is an ode to Mum and Dad. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
In the shower, whilst accepting my sixth Grammy Award, I always imagine that I'll say something completely heartwarming and repulsively over the top about my parents and how they inspire me but I don't want to feel as though I have to wait until my acceptance speech (It's not too far away anyway). I just simply want to say thank you. You almost spend your whole childhood taking them for granted because you never fully realised or understood how much you need and will miss them.
I'm being way too soppy. Reality is, Mum will complain about Dad having drilled too many holes in the wall. Dad gets irritated at mum’s ceaseless social life (that seems to be far more exciting than my own). I get nagged about towels, spreading the bed or maybe, yes, ok… I left the dishes on the side for longer than I was supposed to but I promised I was going to do it at some point. We will go about our day, huff and puff at one another, loudly sighing as we pass each other on the landing, carrying the stresses of family life on our shoulders.
But then, when you finally leave home, or at least move away far enough that travelling back every weekend isn’t realistic, you realise how much you miss the nagging and the shrugging and complaining. You even miss getting up off the sofa to go to the kitchen and being begged to make three sandwiches, pour a glass of wine, get some crackers and cheese, get a glass of water and drink it for them. You forget about all the irritating quirks and all the arguments that made you want to leave home in the first place.
I think it’s the smaller things you miss, the things that you didn’t have to ask for as a child, or question, or worry about. You didn’t have to think about when you were going to eat. I’d arrive home from school, greet mum with a hug and say, “Mum, I’m hungry.” She’d often grin and reply, “Hi, I’m Anita, nice to meet you,”utterly pleased at herself as I’d sulk in response. This was routinely irritating, but regardless, you knew dinner would be served, even if it was a trip to IKEA.
Dad’s the same. You got irritated when he wanted you to hold a torch while he explored the fuse box, or help him bring fire wood in from the shed. You get annoyed at DIY Dad, whose shelves are perfectly wonky. And he frustratingly blames you for misplacing the tv remote, until he remembers where HE last had it. But, once you leave and you only get to talk once a day, you begin to appreciate those small moments. Dad's attempts to still grasp technology entertains me endlessly. He's mastered emojis and discovered a new music site, he calls Spoti-fly but when using Skype, he looks towards the sky to Jesus not quite knowing where the camera lens is.
You realise quickly that you still need them, regardless of how old you are.
I didn't feel like I ever told them how much I appreciate the little things. So thank you. Thank you for tightly holding my hands as a child. Thank you for kicking the leaves with me in the park. Thank you for caring. Thank you for making me (although only 5ft 3 - I will formally complain). I am grateful for my upbringing and for the continual support.
Things You Still Ask Your Mum:
How long can I keep meat in the freezer? Am I immoral if I accidentally killed a spider? Should I work this Saturday? Do you know how to get to Golders Green? Do my bank statements get delivered to my home address? How many times a day can I take Paracetamol? Can I come home?
Things You Still Ask Your Dad:
Can I borrow some money? Where do I buy cheap screwdrivers? How do I fix my shower head? Can you come kill this spider? Where’s mum? What's that film with the guy and the car? How does TAX work? Can I come home?