The Sound of Silence

A three-hour drive to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia seemed more like ten, as dark, looming clouds spat down rain and added to the sense of impending dread. I had put this day off for almost 16 months, and in some ways, more like 30 years. Even though I left home at nineteen years old, emotionally I had a difficult time establishing necessary and important boundaries that any grown person is entitled to have. I was the family golden girl--the child that never disappointed-- and for this I have always carried a tremendous weight on my shoulders. In recent years, I eased my burden by distancing myself from those that have loved me since birth. But on this day, the time had come to throw my burden off completely.

Easier said than done.

I called my parents about 30 minutes before arriving on their front porch, but the call went to voicemail. I called again, and again. Could it be my parents would not be home on this Saturday afternoon? Within minutes, I had my answer. Dad worked away in the garage changing car oil, as Mom and Skyler (the child they hope to adopt some day) played in the front yard. The three spotted my red Honda Element and rushed toward the moving car.

“Diane, what a wonderful surprise! We were just planning to go into town for some shopping? Are you up for a trip to Roanoke?”

For the longest moment, overwhelming guilt rushed through my veins. I had never once surprised my parents with a visit. Even though it wasn’t my intention on this day, I decided to delay the inevitable for just a few hours to give my parents a chance to have me there “just because.” And, when we finally retuned from the shopping excursion, I felt as if I was going to explode.

Dad wanted to run another quick errand, but I stopped him in his tracks.

“Don’t go anywhere. I need to talk to you and Mom,” I blurted.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” the questions came fast and furious.

“Nothing is wrong. I’m very happy. I don’t know any other way to say this to you…

I’ve met someone. It’s serious. But before this relationship goes to the next level, I needed to let you know and give you the opportunity to meet him.”

You could have heard a pin drop when I took a moment to catch me breath. My parents sat silent and expressionless for what seemed like an eternity. Ordinarily, I would have tried to fill the void with more information, but I had been advised by a trusted counselor to wait. “Answer questions only when asked,” he advised. “When they are ready to know, the questions will come.”

The questions weren’t coming, so I tried to prod my parents’ curiosity along. “I’m here today to answer any questions you might have,” I said.

My dad finally broke his silence. “What is there to say? You are a 40-year old woman. I cannot tell you what you can and can’t do.”

My mother chimed in, “Diane, we love you. We will always love you. We will not interfere in your life.”

I suppose this is the best I could have hoped for under the circumstances, but at the same time it felt so awkward. Without further discussion, mom hurried make dinner; dad left to buy a bottle of gin. Apparently, he needed a stiff drink.


utenzi said...

Congratulations, Diane. I know this was very hard for you to do and I'm so glad you were able to go through with it.

I think, given their background and all, your parents reaction was amazingly accepting. Next step: the actual meeting!

JustJunebug said...

I agree. It certainly could have been worse (I think)...

I will tell you this I was holding my damn breath and didnt even realize it.

Oh man, what a trooper you are! I dont think I could have waited till after shopping!!!!!!!

big hugs!

mollymcmo said...

i was holding my breath like junebug.

good for you for finally getting it out.

i've had issues with telling my parents (well mostly my mom) things, and really the older i get it doesn't get any easier.

i think you should have a drink too. booze, good booze helps sometimes. in moderation of course! :)


kenju said...

Ooh, with some parents it could have been a LOT worse! I am glad to know they feel that way. Did you tell them anything about Max and where he is from?

Monica said...

Does it now feel a bit better... that is done? Now on to wedding plans and cake and you will see that once the see Max and how much you guys love each other.. the next hurdle will be overcome.

AmyD said...

Damn, even READING this was awkward for me! Wow, so glad that's out of the way! So when will you drop the "I'm engaged and moving out of the country" bomb? Might be a good idea to just show up with lots of booze on that day. You know, preemptively. ;o)

Congrats on being one step closer to relieving this stress you've carried with you for so long!

├ůsa said...

Diane! I’m so happy for you! You finally told your parents. And I thought their reaction was super! After things you have written, I thought they would disown you or something. Unfortunately we usually don’t get the reactions we want from other people. So reactions that aren’t bad should be regarded as god ;- ) Imagine all this time and energy you have spent agonizing about this day. It’s over!!! Hugs to you :- )

Desiree said...

Ya, they could have taken it worse. That was brave of you!!!