For those of you who still have parents that are alive, cherish them.

My dad died when I was 31. My mom died a couple of years ago. They were both fairly young.

My dad was 56 years old.

My mother was 73.

My whole life, I’ve always expected to be able to uncover and go back to childhood or satisfy the family secrets.

Have the relationship I always wanted with my mom and my dad, be able to clean all the air, figure out together how we fucked each other up and really accept it altogether.

That’s not fucking reality.

And I’m going to tell you why.

You see, our parents are just adults.

And now that we’re all adults, it’s time to accept the adult as another adult.

Every time you see your mom or your dad, and you’re trying to figure out how to get them to understand you and be the dad that you always wanted or the mom you always wanted, well, you’re just wasting your time.

Because they’re never going to be what you want them to be. You see, that was your childhood, and your childhood is over. So why are you continuing to choose reliving that childhood dynamic? You’re never going to heal until you fully accept the fact that they were just flawed adults.

Just as flawed as you are as an adult right now.

You see, it really is that simple. A couple summers ago, when Mom was still alive, I went to the beach with my sister, her boyfriend, and my mother.

My sister brought all types of yummy food that I never eat.

Wonder Bread with peanut butter and jelly. Oh, my god. I can still taste it.

Gluten pretzels, those little thin pretzels that are shaved. Oh, my god. One bite, and you can eat the entire bag.

We’re sitting on the beach, talking. And my sister’s brother, who is a good partier, looks around, looks at us, and says, anybody want to get stoned?

I’m thinking it’s vacation. I’m on the beach in Rhode Island. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’ll catch a little buzz.

Plus, it was Rhode Island pot. How strong could it be? I live in Southern California, the pot capital of the West Coast, literally.

I took a few hits, and then I took a few more. And I realized that I was dealing with a heavy partier.

The only thing that brought me back down to earth was the absolutely delicious Skippy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Wonder Bread.

I couldn’t go in the ocean because I was having childhood flashbacks of Bruce the shark from Jaws literally taking me to the buoy and eating me as I was eating those peanut butter sandwiches. I was going to be his peanut butter sandwich.

So I sat on the beach and concentrated on the conversation. And it was one of those good ones.

My sister, who was pretty much emotionally abused from my father most of her life, said something that I will never forget, and it’s something that I have used to not only guide me in my life but guide all of you when I work with you.

My sister looked at all of us and said let’s not make fun of dad anymore because that was always our good, big thing when we got together. Mom would start the conversation, and we’ll all make fun of what a putz he was.

My sister looked at all of us and bluntly said…

Just look at him as a man.” I sat there, and I listened to her.

Look at him as a man. He was a man that was married to you, mom, who was not exactly the most stable person in the world.

He lost his infant son when he was 27 years old.

He had nobody to talk to about it.

He had a mother who dominated him.

And he never really probably wanted kids.

He had a lot of friends because he was a good friend to people. He just wasn’t a good dad.

I sat there. I thought about the words of wisdom from my sister. And I realized something.

If my dad was here and alive today, instead of to figure out how to make him my dad, it would have been more fun just to be adult to adult and make him my friend, to literally accept him for all of his flaws and all his quirks and everything else.

And that’s what leads me to what I want to really reach out to you today.

Watching a movie with your parentsLeave it all alone. Stop trying to make your parents what they aren’t ever going to be and just look at them as two older people who are just adults and get to know them as fellow adults. Just enjoy their company, and just enjoy the fact that they’re still alive.

My mom’s gone, dead. I wish she was around. There are so many days I just want to talk to an older adult that’s been through so much because they really are wise, and they really have great support when you let go of the disappointment of what childhood was to you.

So, the next time you’re with your parents, just play Scrabble, hang out, watch a movie and talk.

Just enjoy them. Just enjoy who they are. Enjoy what they’re all about. Talk about fixing things or making things right.

They’re alive. That’s what’s right about it.

My mother passed away in the span of a week. I never got to make it right with her.

And I never will.

But I have made it right in my own mind, in my own heart. It’s a daily forgiveness.

I still probably come across as angry at times at my mom for things she never supplied or did to me or made me feel safe or whatever it might be. But I talk it out with peers and friends. And it’s a continual process of healing.

When she was alive, I just wanted to hang out with a crazy older lady who would be fun to hang with and get to know, adult to adult. It’s a whole new phase for all of you and your relationship with your parents.

And it’s one that is equally as special as the flawed, fucked-up childhood. It’s actually probably the greatest advice on how to heal.

So do what Elsa did in the movie Frozen: climb to the mountaintop, scream, sing and let it go.

Let it go so you can just enjoy them as two quirky adults that are part of your life, friend to friend, not dad to son or mom to daughter.