Perjantai 22.2.2019
Minä rakastan sinua, Herra, sinä olet minun voimani. Ps. 18:2

Blog: Family mirroring

in English 20.5.2016 11:00 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
I don’t go home often. To go, I need a flicker of homesickness during a sleepless Thursday night. I cannot settle down until I grab my phone and buy a train ticket. Then I bury my head in the pillow for a few more hours.
In the morning I haul my bag through the town where I study to the railway station and from my home station across the open fields to my home. When I open the door, there is a waft familiar smells and then a chorus of whoops of delight, pairs of arms hugging me from head to toes. The first hour is an idyllic feast – a circus parade! I am allowed to spread my mattress on the floor of my sister’s room.

On Saturday morning, if not earlier, I am aware of an approaching downturn. My mind is plagued by the cares and concerns of the past weeks.  I need a human mirror, would you have time? I feel like crying, is it OK to feel like this? Dad, would you have time to listen? I have this thing in my life right now, what do you think would be the best approach, what aspects should I consider, can I trust? I have met this person on the way, mom, I would like to tell you what I have learnt. Hey, brother, will you give me a ride? Let’s go to the store and buy some chocolate and then take the longer route back.  

Although our discussions are getting more and more mature, the parent-child setup is still close to the surface. Sometimes I even hear an accusing note in my speech. I challenge my parents like a teenager; even halfway up the ladder to adulthood I seem to need parental recognition and support for my decisions. Most of all, I want to be heard.

And it is not really strange. The way I grew up partly explains how I perceive my life and myself. But the ultimate interpretation is mine: Will I remember the arms that held me or the back that was turned, rush and haste or unhurried presence, quarrel or consolation, rebuke or encouragement? The topmost feeling is good – affection, even gratitude. But in a safe home it is also possible to speak out one’s bad feeling without fear of rejection.

No, I certainly don’t go home too often. My days are so full of important things in this center of life and activity. But I wish that all of you, dear ones, knew how often I speak about you. Almost daily, although I am twenty years old and adult, I find myself saying, “my dad always says…”. My speech shows that, even though I no longer introduce myself as a sister or a daughter, my home is an indispensable part of my identity.

There are times when my family stories seem a bit contradictory. I waver between criticism and praise. Mostly, however, I describe my home as a normal home where people are grumpy in the morning and kids are wild in the evening, where one struggles to sort out a hundred pairs of woolen socks and stumbles over huts made of mattresses, where all visitors are treated to coffee and cake. There is the role play home of teetering piles of books, the home where we are encouraged to be creative with our hands, the home of growing pains where doors are slammed, the Christian home where one is hugged and blessed before leaving.

I tell people something about this and hope that they hear the love and appreciation in my words.

Lotta Laitinen
Translation: S-L.L.
The blog post was published in online Päivämies on 16 Feb. 2015



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