My parents’ relationship flashed before me: two hippies with big hair blasting Hendrix and smoking a jay; two older hippies, one pregnant, blasting The Clash and smoking a jay; and two graying hippies with thin hair, kids asleep in the back of a mini van, silently smoking a jay. This was just the next step. There was no way out. I took a hit.
At first I felt stressed out, like I didn’t want them to know I was high even though we all obviously were. I stayed pretty quiet, feeling metaphysical about the whole thing. I was seeing my parents as people and myself as an adult. I didn’t know if it was the pot or the situation but I felt like I was making a cameo in their movie, years later. Before I knew it we were all sitting in a cool movie theater wearing giant 3D glasses and shoving popcorn in our faces as Avatar started on the IMAX screen.
I don’t really remember the movie but I remember laughing and saying “woah!”…a lot. Afterwards we stumbled out and went and ate Ethiopian food until our jaws hurt. It was actually pretty wonderful to see my parents having fun and acting like kids (well, almost kids… my dad had to lie down in the aisle at one point when the 3D made him dizzy). I realized that my relationship with my parents was changing in a way I’d never expected when I was 13 and holding that VHS tape hostage.
I thought that parents always stayed the same and you, as the child, were the one to grow up and have a life. It never occurred to me that your parents keep growing and your relationship with them does, too. No, I do not want to smoke weed with my parents every time I see them and I think there are many ways to get closer to your parents that don’t involve drugs or drinking or anything illegal. But for our relationship, which was already pretty open, smoking weed together gave us permission to act as friends in the moment.
Now that I’m able to fend for myself as an adult, I can relate to my parent’s experiences without pointlessly glorifying them. I can also see the downside of their experiences, too. So yeah, you can’t just go out and pick peyote in a field anymore, but you can Google how to eat it correctly and save yourself the 24 hours of puking to get right to the talking dog.
I also know that there are many experiences I will have, in my own generation, with many stories that I will one day be able to tell to my kids while legally smoking marijuana. It might even be this story.
Or maybe the one about grandma, smoking weed out of a toilet paper roll.
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