Dear London

although sometimes its too cold for ice cream

Some things never change.

Dear London,

This past week has been an interesting one. I’ve been referring to it as being in ‘leaving-purgatory’. With the knowledge that I’ll soon be gone, I am neither here nor there. I will be sad to leave, of course, but having known that this day would come I did my best to not waste a second since I got back in October. I’ve made more friends, explored more new places, and spent more time walking that I ever though was possible in two and a half months. It has been pretty wonderful.

Sure we didn’t always agree on everything.

You were appalled when I brought a milkshake from one restaurant into another, even though I still intended on ordering food from said second restaurant. You think military time is easier, while I continue to find this preposterous.  What I considered to be the second floor you insisted was the first. You said trainers. I said sneakers. You said trousers. I said pants. You said pants. I said underwear. Sometimes things got a little confusing, but we always made it work.

Over the last (not consecutive) thirteen months I’ve come to appreciate your uniqueness. No other city shares such an immense love of fire doors, royal families and public drunkenness. No other city is so fearful of eye contact or so confused by that large burning mass that occasionally appears in the sky. I’ll never quite get the need to have five or more different types of solid milk chocolate in one vending machine, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

You’ve brought out some characteristics I never knew I had. I could probably join a circus with my acrobatic balancing ability learned on the top decks of your buses. I’ll always appreciate a good cup of tea, and I’ll always despise slow walking tourists and pigeons.

No matter where I go, I’ll always be a little bit of a Londoner.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Cheers,

Eliza

Forgiving Our Parents For Doing Their Very Best

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Disclaimer: I make the following prediction based upon nearly every first child I have met, not on anyone in particular (seriously).

I’d like to diagnose a condition I’ve seen in a number of children, in varying degrees, over the last ten years. This condition is an emotional hang up that presents in eldest children. The parents of these children imparted upon them seemingly unrealistic expectations, and a tough love kind of parenting that was very absent from the parenting of later siblings. The resulting hang up is a very delicate emotional balance of resentment tinged with injustice, a stressfully overwhelming desire to succeed, and a secret deep seated want for approval. All of this is usually aimed at one parent, and that parent does not understand the situation. From their perspective, they did the best that they could with the knowledge they had to work with. Only one thing will change this.

What will this be?

As the twenty-something eldest children of the world approach being thirty-something and start having children (for those who haven’t already) I have a prediction. A great epiphany will occur in tandem for those driven, intelligent, over achievers who have been molded in the likeness of their mothers and fathers since day one. This epiphany will not occur right away, probably not for a few years, or at least until new baby #1 begins to talk back. Following a particularly harrowing temper tantrum or four-year-old’s quarter-life-crisis, said epiphany will go something like this: “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m doing my best,” followed by the realization, “my mother and father had no idea what they were doing either.”

Best-case scenario, this realization will allow these eldest children to forgive the wrongs they feel have been done to them by their parents. It will not suddenly be OK for their parents to have bribed, punished or guilted them into doing things, but maybe they will understand that they really did those things with only the best intentions at heart.

On the flip side, I hope that these parents will understand why their children pushed them away, and if given the opportunity, they will work on forming a new relationship with that child. Hopefully these parents will be wise enough to not push their child to be the parents they weren’t, lest they restart a vicious cycle.

I’m not trying to make a broad generalization about all parents or all eldest children. I’m just trying to say that at the end of the day you should love your parents for doing their best with what was available to them.

Let us hope we will someday do the same.