Growing up, my parents asked me the same question at dinner every night: “How was your day?”
My answers varied. When I was in elementary school, I gave them an hour-by-hour rundown of my day. In high school, my answer was usually an honest, sleep-deprived, “I don’t know.” Regardless of my answer or my mood, my parents always asked, and I usually did my best to answer.
It took me a while to understand that the question was never about knowing about every facet of my life. My parents just wanted to hear me talk. They just wanted to know what I was doing when I wasn’t with them, if I was enjoying it, how I was feeling.
And now, three years later, that still hasn’t changed. My parents still want to know what’s going on in my life. What has changed is that we don’t sit down to dinner every night. Instead of talking over grilled chicken and rice, we have to talk through the phone. And while it isn’t always easy to find time to talk, I always try to, because it’s the least I can do for the people who raised me and made me who I am today.
So call your parents — or your grandparents, or whoever took care of you when you couldn’t take care of yourself — every once in a while. Seriously.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior who hasn’t lived at home for three years or a freshman who has just left home for the first time. No matter how old you are, your parents still want to know what’s going on in your life, just like they did when you were 11 years old.
You don’t have to tell them what you did over the weekend or how your “it’s complicated” relationship is going. Don’t just call them when you need money, or when you’re sick, or when you miss home. Call them at the end of the day to say, “Hi,” or to see how their day went. Tell them about your day. Ask them about theirs.
Your parents are people, too, and you’re going to have to accept that someday. You might as well start now.