There was a time when I considered moving back to Washington State to live with my parents to serve out my year of house arrest. When people ask me why I chose not to, I tell them that it’s because I value my relationship with my parents.
My mother and father are, without a doubt, some of the best people I have ever known in my life, or will ever know. They are two of my best friends. I admire them, and I love them dearly. They must love me too, because they still publicly claim me as their daughter. They flew down to visit me recently.
My mom’s reaction to seeing my ankle bracelet was holding it, leaning in and saying, “Hello? Let my daughter go,” like it was a conch shell, and instead of hearing the ocean, she might be able to hear a panel of government decision makers to whom she could plead my innocence.
I’d planned to host a barbeque at my place while they were here. My mom called me a week before their visit to discuss the menu. “Sweetie, I found a great recipe for the BBQ this weekend. It’s a sandwich with some Swiss cheese and — I thought you’d be okay with this– it’s a pancetta, which is a thinly sliced ham.” I come from a Northwest family of hunters. My mom refuses to accept that I’m a vegetarian. The last time I came home to visit, she surprised me with a mustard chicken, which she said she’d made with me in mind– and the fact that I don’t eat meat far from mind.
My dad suggested that I take a picture of my mom’s hands on my ankle bracelet. “For what? Dad, no.” My parents never miss an opportunity for sentiment. They asked my lawyer to take our Christmas card photo last year immediately after I was sentenced to prison. Like, literally, right after it happened. Before sending the photo out to all of their friends to celebrate the holiday, they photo-shopped fireworks into the background and pasted in a photo of my brother’s girlfriend, whose disproportionately blown up image floated over the family against the supposed glow of the fireworks. They joyously distributed the image with a holiday greeting to everyone on my mom’s “Christmas card list” with absolutely no sense of irony. I love my parents.
My parents stayed with me while they were here. During the first night, I had a hard time sleeping. It may have been from an overly caffeinated afternoon. My insomnia may also have been induced by the sounds that were erupting from my apartment. It sounded like nothing short of a snoring competition. In truth, there was no competition at all. My dear father was winning by a landslide. I was curled up on my futon, eyes peeled, clutching my iPhone. I was sure that my mom was sound asleep until, out of nowhere, the only thing that could be heard over the roar of my father’s sleep was, “Meili, what are doing? It looks like a laser show over there.” The blue light from my phone was casting a small pool of light against the wall.
We had a great time during their stay. My parents are amazing, and I am soooooo blessed to have them. I can’t even make a joke about that. The barbeque was really fun, and I ended up getting some great recipes from my mom, as always– even if a sandwich with thinly sliced ham wasn’t one of them.
166 days to go.