Not Being the Parent, My Parents Were

I am the oldest of four. I am 60 parts my father and 40 parts my mother. I can tell you neither of them knew how to deal with the person they helped create. Now, it’s sort of a given that parents have no clue what they are doing with their first child.  Hell, I have no clue what I am doing. It’s sorta sad, because had they taken the time to actually listen and communicate effectively it would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.  But… Let me tell you a story.

A couple of days ago my mom and I were having a conversation about her belief that turning the other cheek in certain situations or even apologizing. I told her she went about it all wrong. There was a certain situation in which my aunt got upset with me when I was 12 and cursed me out like a grown woman. My other aunt lied and said I had yelled at that swore at me. I called out for her to try to explain not yelled. But I was forced, not asked, to apologize to that aunt. I took it as my parents didn’t trust my word. I also internalized that as that I wasn’t worthy of respect. It wasn’t until I was an adult to work through the pain and anger that I didn’t even know I held on to that day.

However, the conversation got me to think about not just learning from my mistakes as a mother but my parents’ mistakes. I also learned I have to undo the mistakes I left behind with my son. This a growing person who is learning who they are. It’s my responsibility to make sure my son functions at a healthy emotional level. I don’t him turning 29 and realizing that he is acting out on a situation that happened to him over 15 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents. I also completely understand that working with the tools given to them by their parents. Let me tell you my grandparents are like a bag of knotted rubber bands. I think my parents did the best they could with what knowledge they had. I wish they would have handled it differently, but wishful thinking in the past gets us nowhere… on both sides.

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