The upcoming Zach Braff film, Wish I Was Here, tells the story of a man who finds himself at major crossroads, and has to examine his life, his career, and his family.
Aidan Bloom goes from worrying about his own happiness to looking after everybody around him. He discovers how challenging it is to maintain a happy family, but ultimately learns how to appreciate the little things. Here are a few of the little things that we only learn to appreciate about our parents once we are grown-ups ourselves.
Whether we like it or not, our families are there through it all — for the good, the bad, the awkward, the pubescent and everything in between. When you’re a blissful little kid or a sullen teenager, you never quite appreciate the things your family does for you until you’re older and on your own — or even once you finally have your own family with whom to repeat the cycle. Here, the things you don’t realize you took for granted until you grew up.
1. How they accepted all your kid-like weirdness — and the weirder friends you brought home.
You were part and parcel with the whole concept of being born into a family. Friends — well, that’s always another story. No matter how questionable the kids you choose to hang out with, no matter how raucous and rebellious, no matter how “bad” an influence they might have been, family members often had to grin and bear having them over for hours at a time… sort of like when your roommates have people over and you just have to wait for the storm to pass before home is all yours all over again.
2. They’re the ones who know everything about you.
And when I say everything, I mean they witnessed every pimple, every preteen crush, every bad grade, crappy diorama, and awkward sartorial choice. There’s literally no hiding from them — there never has been, and there never will be. In this spirit of having seen it all, you can tell them things now and they barely raise an eyebrow, so attuned are they to your habits and quirks. And sometimes, when you’ve spent a lot of time explaining yourself and your desires to everyone with whom you interact, being able to pick it up like no time has passed at all is a nice change of pace.
3. The way they picked up the tab.
I mean, sure, when you’re a little kid, there’s no other way to do it (thanks, child labor laws!). Still, when you wind up around your family as an adult and they still insist on paying for it — everything from dinner together to playing tourist together when they visit you in your new city to a family vacation, hotel and all – it’s a reminder that you were and are a whole other body for which to pay, and if you can barely live paycheck-to-paycheck on your own, imagine how much harder it is with that many more bodies dependent on you.
4. Their willingness to go out of their way to help you.
And not even just math homework, but with driving you places before you had a license, and doing your laundry for you because you were too little to know how, and checking under the bed for monsters and… okay, especially the math homework. (And sometimes you were too snot-nosed and stubborn to say thank you, so here we go now: THANK YOU.)
5. The fact that someone always made dinner for you, even when they were exhausted.
Because the day is inevitably going to come when you crash your way home, collapse on your couch, can’t even be bothered to look into the fridge you know is empty because you haven’t gone grocery shopping, and realize, screw it, work made you too tired to even pretend to care enough to cook.
Your parents probably had those days, too. And they also had you. And telling a kid to fend for themselves in front of a stove would probably have been a recipe for disaster.
6. Sometimes, being around people who are just like you is a welcome relief.
At work or in social situations as an adult, you have to interact with tons of different people – which is a great thing, sometimes, as it broadens your view of the world – but sometimes it gets tiring to temper yourself so as to create less friction with other people. As different as you think you are from your family, you’re also inevitably the same in a lot of ways, and while sometimes people who are so very similar squabble the most, falling back into place with people with whom you mesh like that is often a blessing in disguise.
7. They took care of you when you were sick.
And only when you finally have to cook that chicken soup; ration out your NyQuil; and clean up your sweaty, vomity, sick self do you realize how nice it is to just have someone to take care of you when you’re ill.
8. You got to swap stuff like crazy.
When you’re a kid, hand-me-downs kind of blow because you want to be unique! and an individual! and have things that were never claimed by another member of your family. But now that you’re buying your own clothes, you suddenly realize how awesome it is to just get stuff for free – and to see the stuff you loved once get a second life with the people you love.
9. They were never afraid to tell you like it is.
Not when it came to the people you wanted to date, not when you were being a brat, not when you were operating at a 12 and needed to take it down to a 7 — nothing. And it helps to have those people around who aren’t afraid to keep you in check, to sit through every needless heartbreak you work yourself over like it’s the one to end them all, to remind you that you need to study to get decent grades — everything you know deep down, but need someone else to say out loud.
10. How much they love you.
Because love is hard. And difficult. And trying. And exhausting. And trying to find love in this world full of left swipes and horror dates is even more tiring, and sometimes you wonder if you should even bother. But then you turn to the group text you have with your siblings, or you pull up to your parents’ house and park yourself at their dinner table, or you connect with a cousin you haven’t seen in a few years on Facebook, and you remember — oh yeah. That’s what love is. That’s family. Even through the worst parts of growing up, they’ve always loved you. And if they can see you through that, then maybe there’s love out there in this world that’s reason enough for you to keep on.
This post brought to you by the new film from Focus Features, ‘Wish I Was Here.’ Now playing in select theaters.