Four humans committed to showing up for our parents
Hi friend! 👋 I want to introduce you to the next chapter of rebuilding my relationship with my parents, which has been the most impactful and transformative work of my adult life: The Parent Project 👵 👴
TL;DR We are four humans, committed to showing up for our aging parents each week in the ways we have always wanted — working through our past traumas, rewriting the beliefs that no longer serve us, and learning to love and be loved by our parents. Join us live each week as we reflect on our conversations and coach each other through one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys of our lives. 🙏
For over ten years, I didn’t have a good relationship with my parents. We never talked beyond small, transactional exchanges every day. When we got on the phone, I often couldn’t wait to end the conversation and return to my life.
Even though I was an endlessly joyful person around my friends, colleagues, and strangers, I was cranky and short-tempered at home. My parents were the only people I took my stress and frustration out on, making the smallest things they did, excuses for me to be annoyed. I lashed out at them for caring too much about me.
They didn’t deserve any of it, and there was nothing I felt more guilty about for over a decade.
In August 2018, I wrote a letter to my parents owning up to the years I treated them poorly. I read it to them over the phone and cried my heart out. I had a lot of work to do, but it was as if the doors to the rest of my life opened up.
By November 2019, I co-created a bilingual connection card game with a friend and my parents called Parents Are Human to help other immigrant families have the kinds of heart-to-heart conversations that transformed our relationship. I hugged both my parents every morning for more than a year. It’s one of the things we looked forward to most each day.
Now, two years later, I feel like I can talk to my parents about almost anything. I’m currently helping my dad brainstorm ways to have a second career doing something he loves post-retirement. He is actually taking my advice now on how to improve his health. My parents do yoga together daily. I’m learning Chinese from my mom, and we’re discussing Lao Tzu’s ancient Chinese philosophy. We blow kisses to each other at the end of our weekly Zoom calls.
Most importantly, I’m now able to catch myself anytime a trigger comes up. Yes, I still get annoyed at things my parents do and say, but I can turn those internal feelings around faster and faster. When my frustration shows from time to time, I get to own up to my reaction in those moments and apologize consciously. Each time this happens, we get a little closer as a family. To my amazement, my parents will now often reflect on their behavior and habits in return. We’re getting better at communicating together.
With my beloved soul family Brandon Lee, Kimberly Han, and partner Tong-Tong Li, we have committed ourselves to talk with our parents weekly, asking at least one of the Parents Are Human card game questions. Once a week, we come together and discuss what came up for us during our interactions with our parents, the lessons we’re learning, and the inevitable challenges we face.
We’ve been recording and publishing our sessions on The Parent Project Facebook page. We’re here to showcase the heart and soul of building intergenerational wellness and hopefully inspire more open conversations about what it means to rebuild our relationship with our parents when we become adults.
Thank you for your support. It has been an honor of a lifetime to share this never-ending journey with you.
P.S. Here’s some wisdom from my mother about being friends with children. I can’t wait to share more with you.