When You Think You Know Your Parents

Modern Love

Mar 2 2022 • 20 mins


Ariel Sabar was visiting his parents in his childhood home in California, when he awoke one morning to high-pitched giggles coming from his parents’ room. He opened the door to a Norman Rockwell-type image: his father, 70, riding his stationary bike in his pajamas; and his 6-year-old son perched on its frame, cheerleading for his grandfather.

Ariel was stunned: “As a boy, I’d seen this house as a battlefield, a place where children and parents less often joshed than jousted,” he wrote in his 2009 Modern Love essay. Was his relationship with his father as turbulent as he remembered, or had he blinded himself to happier times?

In today’s episode, Ariel starts to see his father in a new light, as his son brings them closer together. Then, we hear a Tiny Love Story about a woman who took a DNA test that led to a life-changing discovery (fun fact: coincidentally, she is a geneticist).

Join Modern Love for a virtual event on March 9 (RSVP at nytimes.com/morningatnight). And if you’re an undergraduate at an American college or university, submit your story to our college essay contest. Visit nytimes.com/essaycontest for details.