Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Things We Do For Love

I don't know how I got so blessed in the parenting department.  I have a great kid.  He is closer to 40 than 30 so I suppose most of you wouldn't call him a kid anymore, but he will always be my baby.  He married a great gal and I love them both very much. He was a very challenging colicky baby and young and older child though, so don't think I had it easy in the parenting department. But, end results count for a lot and I have a great kid. Given the difficult situation that he was raised in, my great kid is a wonder.  My brother, however, has told me not to write parenting books.  I could say the same to him.  We have both struggled at times in the parenting department.

I have recently entertained all of my siblings and was reminded of some truths that I knew and remembered deep in my mind, but had buried the memories.  My mom and I had a difficult relationship growing up.  My take on it is that she had a certain amount of jealousy toward me.  Either that or she was a hateful shrew, when I was a teen I went with that one.  But I can be gentler and more forgiving these days. 

This is me being defensive--I was a ordinary sized teen.  If you are familiar with the movie White Christmas, I was more like a Rosemary Clooney than a Mitzi Gaynor.  Mom was a Mitzi.  Mom referred to in front of my siblings as "the big fat sister."  Whenever my siblings told me she had called me fat or other names, I told Dad who fought with Mom, so I had a rather horrible teenage experience looking back on it.  I came to believe I was the fattest person in the room. This, I believe set me up to marry the first man who asked whether I knew him or not. In my case, that was a mistake. It is a mistake that I am still dealing with.

Mom is 96 these days and I am her primary caregiver although she lives in assisted living and not with me. She is still demanding and on occasion she falls back into patterns of criticism, but I have learned how to deal with her and change the subject and distance myself when I need to.  As she settles into dementia, I hold my breath to see which way she will go because the filters are definitely coming off.  But, this is the thing I know, it says--Honor thy father and mother, and though I have searched the good book for it, I find no footnotes or exceptions to only honor them if they deserve it or if they were great parents.  Honor them regardless.  I honor her and care for her and love her.  And occasionally I call or text my siblings and vent.  I take care of her for love of Christ, for love of my dad who loved her, for love of the good mom who helped me to turn out the person I am.  She made mistakes, but so did I.  It only poisons my life if I dwell with the upsets of my childhood.

Thinking in response to my brother's comment that I should not write a parenting book, I wonder about turning out okay while having been raised by a mother who didn't seem to or at least show that she loved me very much.  I wondered how my son turned out okay, although much of his growing up years, I was profoundly unhappy, and had not experienced a great parenting example myself.

I can write my parenting book and my daughtering book in a few short words--love.  Love the imperfect mother.  Show her love.  Love your child and love the things he or she does, the things he or she is interested in.  Do things with your child out of love.  Love is the answer.  Do the most loving thing for your child, for your mother.  And love to do it. Love.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I have made a conscious decision to not make comments about my weight or Sugarbeet's when she is bigger. So many hurtful self-image 'scripts' to re-write thanks to my mom's constant negative self-talk and comments on my weight. It's so hard to overcome. Your parenting book sounds a lot like how I approach parenting. Just love her. Get to know her. Set boundaries and love her.