Packed breakfasts. Packed lunches. Instant dinners. Baked goodies. Laundry. Doggy daycare. More home cooking. A human alarm clock. Instant personal advisers/counselors. A personal psychiatrist. A nutritionist. A motivator. A life coach. A budget analyst. A handyman and locksmith in one. A personal nurse. And a personal chef. Who could ask for more?
These are times when I wish I had a two-bedroom apartment, so I can properly set up the other room for people, like my parents, who occasionally visit the city. But when you live in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, your options are slightly limited. You have to make do of what’s available, what’s around you…which is not too hard. You just need to use a little imagination and some creativity. That means you take the couch in the den with your small-although-hefty-sized French bulldog, and, voilà, an instant two-bedroom is created.
The original room, painted in a mauve color (imagine the purple gray sky in the early morning hours just as the sun is about to make its appearance), is turned into a mini hotel suite, furnished with fresh linen and amenities such as a flat screen TV along with Apple TV and Netflix (for my dad). Of course, there’s a diverse collection of DVDs and books so no one is bound to get bored. The carpet is vacuumed, and there’s a Febreze moment nobody can deny as soon as one enters the room. The bathroom is shared but separate shower puffs and fresh towels are provided as well as a brand new supply of decadent body cleansers and shampoos. It’s like a bed and breakfast, but for parents. Pretty luxurious if you ask me except for the whole room service thingy. But, to be honest, I think my parents would be happy as long as they have a bed (fresh bed sheets, of course!) and a room to sleep in.
They are coming from California and I’m sure to provide them with a well-deserved and restful sleep on the day of their arrival. And, although they were here before, I still want them to experience that fresh hotel feeling and be as comfortable as they can be. The more relaxed they are when they sleep, the more they are inclined to make tastier goodies and lunches and dinners.
But here’s the real truth… Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Remember the days when you were living under your parents’ roof? Your chores are assigned. Your mom or dad does the cooking or baking around the house. Then they give you advice on how to do the right thing no matter how hard-headed you are. They guide you in the right direction . Sometimes, your mom even does your laundry, and you know she makes the most awesome cookies in the whole world. Or the best cassava cake or macaroons. Or sweet rice treats. And you know your dad can cook the best pasta or pansit. You are sure to enjoy that the family parties are well-attended and well-received because of the amazing dishes only the two of them can prepare. They’re like two super powers except they’re within your reach because you live with them.
There are times, however, that you take things for granted. You want to see your friends. You want to stay late. Maybe go to a club. You get a little drunk or you stray a little bit. And you don’t realize the importance of having them because there is that familiarity. You don’t expect it will ever change. You think they will always be there no matter what. Well, guess what? It will end at some point. You will grow up and have your own place and get a decent job and say to yourself, “Wow, I miss having them around…”
This is that moment. This is the moment to give back. It’s my way of telling them I miss them so much, and that I miss the old times. They will bring it back somehow during their brief stay and recreate what was lost and what had passed. But the love and the memories will always remain inside. That will never be forgotten.
And when they leave, I will have etched in their memory, the hotel experience I have provided, but more so, the experience of cooking together (because that’s what they love to do) and doing things together whether it’s grocery shopping or watching movies together, even if only for a brief moment in time…