I found that picture you see up there while searching for something on Google. It’s pretty scary how accurate it is for me.
At 14 I was more then half way through high school. (I graduated at age 15.) I didn’t like any one. My Mom was so annoying it wasn’t funny. Especially after she cut up my white shoes. I was already swearing if I ever had kids I would never be like my Mom or treat my kids like my parents treated me. Because you know, I was absolutely tortured. Bedtimes, curfews, rules, chores, punishments – you know, all that totally unreasonable stuff.
At age 18 I was pretty sure I couldn’t stand her. Make no mistake, I was pretty sure I couldn’t stand my Dad either, I was an equal opportunity bitch. I knew everything. I was sure that my parents were quite unreasonable and that the grass was, of course, better on the other side. On my 18th birthday, and I mean literally as in right after midnight, I moved out. It was quite unceremonious. I was quite unprepared. It was without a doubt one of the five biggest mistakes that I’ve made in my life.
Even after I moved out and turned into a complete raving bitch (I was only a junior bitch before that), my parents never gave up on me. I did things that I know embarrassed my parents. I didn’t care. They always did what they felt was right, and what they felt was in my best interest. My Mom always did what was right. Not what was easy, not what was convenient. Not what was popular.
I know for a fact that there were times that my parents blamed themselves for my bad decisions. I know this because they told me so. I assured them then, and later in life, that my bad choices in behavior weren’t their fault and they needn’t take them personally. They told me they did because that’s just how it was.
I started to figured out Mom was right before I turned 25, thankfully. I didn’t fully get it until after I became a mother in 1995 at near age 30. I’d already been apologizing for several years. I’m still apologizing. I doubt I’ll ever be able to apologize enough. Onward.
Some time after I became a parent my Dad, husband and two brothers would tell me I was just like my Mom. For a few years I was in denial. I didn’t want to sound like her. After all, I was different then she was. Then one day, I heard her voice come out of my head and I knew they were right. That stung a bit but I got used to it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I had to be like anyone, why not be like my Mom.
I’m not all that far from 50 now. I’m 47. My Mom just passed 70. She’s still looking pretty good for an old bird, and gets around pretty well. I don’t want to lose my Mom. Not now, not soon, not at all. I’ve told her, and my Dad, that they’re not permitted to die. But that isn’t the point here today.
In two weeks my oldest will be 18. Sometimes I call him the man-child. He isn’t really either a child or a man at this point. I’m not going to sugar coat it, things haven’t been going as well as I’d like lately. Or as well I’d hoped. Some days all I can do is just cry because I feel like I’ve failed. At some point I realized that this is how my Mom must have felt all those years ago. When I started realizing this is how she must have felt back then, I realized how much it must have hurt her. And that’s when I realized I am a coward and didn’t want to feel that way. In other words, I decided that day that I didn’t want to be like my Mom.
I’ve realized that this is like a long car ride. There have been some bumps over the past year or two. And then a few more as my son’s birthday started nearing. And I have a feeling we’re going to hit at least a few more. As my Mom did, I am taking many things personally. I feel like we’re almost at that point when the car is nearing the top of a huge hill and you’re just not sure if the car is going to make it all the way up or if will stall. And then I realized I hope I can hold on like my Mom and be as strong as she was if the car does in fact stall. And should the car make it to the top of the hill without stalling, will we see a fun downhill on the other side, or will it be yet another incline. Basically, in the end, I hope I am just like my Mom.
Mom (who reads my blog every day), I love you. I’m sorry, there aren’t enough apologies. I hope that I have half of your strength and patience if the time comes that I need it. Being 15 and living at home with you and Dad sure looks good right about now. And once again, you were right. You can’t help but take it personally.
PS. For the record. I adore my Dad and much of the above applies to him as well. It’s just slightly different. A horse of a different color, as it were. Maybe we’ll trot that one out another time. One thing at a time right now.