When I was a toddler, I'm told I squealed with joy at any expression of love and was always trying to talk. I ran to my parents with open arms, joined them in song and conversation (attempted) and could not stop loving them more. I wanted to be them. I wanted to do what they did.
When I was a little older.. an adolescent, I asked why. And then I followed up any answer with another why. I enjoyed irritating my older cousins and parents by repeating everything they said, refused to play the "let's be quiet game," and didn't let out that I could now spell (because parents always spell out what they don't want you to know). I was told to stop talking back but I had not a clue what I did wrong. I liked using the phrase "I told you so!" with my hands on my hips, elbows perked at matching 45 degree angles, as if to add how much I really told 'em so!
When I was a tween, I rolled my eyes and got in trouble. I talked back and I got in trouble. I didn't play with my brother and I got in trouble. I didn't help out around the house and I got in trouble. I got in trouble a lot. Or so it felt.
When I was a teen, I just wanted to hang out with my friends. I learned what it mean to be grounded. My parents kept telling me how important college was, kept sending my to SAT classes, Chinese school and made me play the piano. I muttered under my breath a lot and felt like I knew more than my parents. Duh.
When I was in my 20's, I missed my parents. I hoped they would keep paying for me but I enjoyed being able to treat them to a meal with my real job. I wanted to make them proud but I hated when they nagged me. I wanted to know their opinion but I didn't want to let on that I did.
When I was in my late 20's, my parents became my friends. I could sometimes talk to them like adults now. But... they were still my parents.
When I had a kid, I realized for the first time - how much my parents actually did for me. As I am worrying about every odd breath out of my son's mouth and nose, I'm appreciating the efforts, the rules, the boundaries, the worrying and the love they incessantly showered me with (despite my rebelliously difficult times).
Funny how it comes full circle. I don't think my children will ever love me as much as I love them because I can't imagine the love I feel for Jordan being reciprocated. That is how much I love him!