Where Love and Obligation Meet

Where does one draw the boundaries between love, obligation and regret? There is a very fine line between each of them. The actions we take do not neatly fall into any one of those categories but, instead, often overlap in many tangled and complicated ways. I am writing this post in Hilton Head, where I came for a brief stay with my father and stepmother for all of these reasons.

Because I had not been able to see them over the holiday season, I had been invited several times to come visit. The first two times, I was able to justify my own busy schedule or that of my family; but when I declined for the third time because I was “too busy”, I began to feel pangs of guilt. Was there something sad I could detect in his voice? Was I neglecting my duties as a daughter? How would I feel if something happened and I never had another opportunity? Why was I so focused on my daily life that I was ignoring the long, loving history of our lives together -forgetting how important our relationship is and denying that the extra effort would be worth it?

Thankfully, my husband saw through my calm indifference and realized what was gnawing at me inside. The next day, at his insistence, I booked my flight and now, a month later, I am so glad I came. The weather was not what it should have been at this time of year. In fact, I was lucky to arrive on schedule between the ongoing parade of winter storms. The cold didn’t bother me, though. We walked between the raindrops, braved the winds on the barren beach, prepared delicious meals, talked late into the evening and celebrated by singing together at his piano just like we used to.

Despite the gloomy weather, our spirits are high!

Despite the gloomy weather, our spirits are high!

Delicious jumbo shrimp from a local fish monger!

Delicious jumbo shrimp from a local fish monger!

The evening I was supposed to leave, yet another storm threatened the east coast and my flight home was cancelled. Was it inconvenient? Yes. I had to cover my classes back home and ask my husband to deliver some necessary materials for me. But, I prefer to see this extra day as a gift from Mother Nature. The sun finally came out. The wind went away and I was able to sit outside in only my shirt sleeves. (It was the only day of my trip above 50.)

Notice the temp! It is the highest one of the whole week.

Notice the temp! It is the highest one of the whole week.

Finally it's sunny enough to need my glasses.

Finally it’s sunny enough to need my glasses.

The warm weather also brought out the fog, but at least it wasn't windy.

The warm weather also brought out the fog, but at least it wasn’t windy.

My stepmom and I got to enjoy an hour or so at the beach, breathing in the salt air and moving our bodies after being stuck inside. Tonight we are going out for dinner and will watch the sunset.

This Heron let us watch the sunset alongside him.

This Heron let us watch the sunset alongside him.

This trip has been a special way to reaffirm our bond and create new memories. I am thankful for the wonderful time we had together- whether for love or out of obligation- and I have no regrets.

A perfect way to end a memorable trip.

A perfect way to end a memorable trip.

Advertisements

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. belikewaterproduction
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 19:54:41

    Unfortunately, they are linked to each other

    Like

    Reply

  2. suzicate
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 20:37:32

    I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip. You won’t regret that time with them. I hope you will make it home soon. Enjoyed your photographs.

    Like

    Reply

    • themiddlegeneration
      Mar 05, 2015 @ 21:07:17

      I made it home, although that could be another story. Anyway, the point is to live in the moment and with no regrets. We will treasure the memories we had and it will be a reason to act more quickly in the future.

      Like

      Reply

  3. Carol
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 20:41:10

    Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives we don’t make time to share with loved ones farther away, and later we are sorry. I’m glad you made the time.

    Like

    Reply

  4. Looking Out The Window
    Mar 05, 2015 @ 23:13:35

    So related to your quandary of having a geographically unfit relationship with a parent. I get caught up in the triangle you talk of feelings you talked about. Both my husband and I always say don’t fight with your parent and have no regrets about what you do or don’t do, because their time is likely shorter than you imagine. My mother loves to come to Montana,and it is often easier to pay her flight and let her come here. It now appears that her health is starting to fail and even before that was an issue I worried about all the transfers and the long day of flights and transfers she had to make each time she came. I too may be making the flight to see her. I hope I have as many good memories as you made with your family.

    Like

    Reply

  5. themiddlegeneration
    Mar 06, 2015 @ 11:15:21

    You are right to see that as a probability. Travelling already can be challenging, but as you age it gets harder and more stressful. It might be easier for you to have your mom visit now, but you will know when you need to visit her. I am sure you will be happy you did. In the meantime, keep making memories.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: