Thursday, July 25, 2013

Come home (If only for a little bit)

I figured that the Munich Congress at which I'm scheduled to speak would be a perfect opportunity to visit my family. I haven't even met my niece and nephew yet (outside of a Skype connection online) and every time I call my parents I get an earful from my mother. There are so many things back home that apparently require my immediate attention. From sorting out banking issues to the kids' baptisms and getting a new ID. Maybe I should get a full check up? A don't forget everybody's favorite- the dentist. And every few weeks the same question pops up in the conversation. When am I coming home. Germany is right next to Poland, so I thought why not just extend my stay, fly over there for a few days, maybe two weeks and go back home to America. To address all those pressing issues I've been hearing about for months. That's why I've been playing for time when it comes to finalizing my travel arrangements. I need to know what my parents would like me to do. What are the things that I need to get to in person and how much time it would take. But my life now is in America. It became clear that my mom would ideally have me over there for an extended, maybe indefinite stay. I can see that she misses me, having me home would bring her comfort no doubt, and I miss her too. But going home for a month for me would mean weeks of sitting on the couch in front of the TV. My parents both work full time. Many weeks in Poland for me means many weeks of doing nothing. No one to meet, nowhere to go, nothing to see. Not much has changed back home. I still would be barely able to leave the apartment building, it's not even safe for me to go around our complex because dog owners back home run their large dogs often run freely. If it was any American city, I'd take a bus route map and venture off very much the same way we explored Gainesville nine years ago. Because I would know I can always board the bus and I can access most if not all buildings. In Poland all of that is still an issue and living in a wheelchair means a constant struggle. If there is in action plan and things I need to do, I needed my parents to tell me, and also make appropriate arrangements. But being there for a month just for the sake of being there for a month for me means just being severely limited,  confined to my wheelchair and powerless. And I know that this is not what my parents want, although the first impulse may be to have me there and hold on to me for as long as they can. I love my family- but I have no love for a place that has no love for me. And yes, I'll admit it. I haven't been home in six years and I left nine years ago. Visits like this are either way always scary. I always get a sense that me and my family are drifting apart. They have things in their lives that I don't know about and they know little about mine. My friends are passions are here. When I'm in Warsaw, yes, I'm still my parents' son but I feel like a visitor. And I have these feelings that as time passes and life happens we just grow to be people others may not recognize.You can't turn back the clock. Things happened back home when I wasn't there. My brother has beautiful children, my dad had a double bypass, they have day to day problems I don't relate to. Yes, my family loves me and supports me. They'd probably be the last one standing if everyone else turned away, yet going home is a very stressful idea to me. Partly because I feel this was the life I got away from. A life that tries to reclaim me.

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