A little about parents on Mother’s Day

 

 

When I was little…

My mom is going to read this probably tomorrow night. So first: Happy Mother’s day Mom! I love you and you are a wonderful woman who I am so lucky to have in my life. You were amazing the day you gave birth to my squirmy 9 pound 13 ounce body, and you are even more amazing today. Thank you for… everything.

Today I want to write about parents. I’ve had this one on the list for a while, and it seems perfect to write it on a day like today.

Parents are perfect.

And parents are completely, ridiculously imperfect too.

I love my parents. I like them too. That, I think, is pretty impressive. Not many people can truly say they like their folks. But I really do. And I have four of them.  My parents divorced around 17 years ago and it was the best thing they could have done (aside from having me and my siblings I suppose!). Then they found these wonderful significant others that are so completely better for them than they were for each other.  And, somewhat atypical of most step-parent/step-kid relationships, I like my step-folks too!

But that’s not to say we haven’t had our rough times. Fights, mean words, grudges, irritation, frustration, hurt feelings. It wasn’t always easy. A lot of the good feelings we have now took a lot of hard work over the years from both sides.  And we’ll have to keep working at it in the future. After all the… stuff… over the years, if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that parents always do their best. It might not have been the best that I wanted or thought I wanted, but it was the best that could be done at the time. When I realized this in my early twenties, everything got a whole lot simpler. All of a sudden, the anger I had carried for years regarding things I had no control over from the past began to work its way out of me. Do I think there will always be a little hurt, unease, or sadness in me about some of it? Yes. But knowing they had done their best was enough for me to let it go and accept it. To move on.

People always say, “We can’t pick our parents.” And all I can say to that is, “I am so glad!” I wouldn’t want to pick my parents–it would be like picking your kids! No thanks! Where would I begin? How would I know what was the best choice? What I think might be the best for me might not be any good at all! Like it or not, my parents’ weaknesses and strengths shaped me, made me who I am today. And I wouldn’t want to change that, and I couldn’t have planned for that either. I like me. I like who I am today. And all the crap and good stuff we experienced in our pasts congealed and made me what I am. There’s no sense to it, but it works.

Everyone on the planet has some idea of what everyone else should be doing to be “better,” but these notions are based significantly on our own desires. We love each other, we want one another to be better, to be our best. Because we care, because it will relieve us, because it will make our lives easier…. But what we have to learn to accept–in order to love them fully–is that all we can really expect out of our loved ones is that they do their best. Even if it isn’t as “good” as we’d like it to be. If they are doing all they are capable of at the time, how can we demean that with our expectations and desires? They are surviving, coping, managing, moving forward. They are succeeding! They are being nothing short of astounding–not everyone can give their best. (Are we giving our best when we pile our expectations on others?) Once we recognize that their best may never be what we expected, we might just realize that their best was better than we could have imagined. That their best achieves more, is more genuine and long-lasting; it inspired in them more than we had ever dreamed possible.  And in that regard, aren’t we lucky that we didn’t get our way?!

 

2 thoughts on “A little about parents on Mother’s Day

  1. I love this post! I like my parents too…I just like them. Oh, sure, I love them; but, I like spending time with them and for that I do feel lucky.

    I think the understanding of someone “doing the best they can” is really quite powerful. I having this crazy experience right now of falling in love. It is scary and beautiful. I kept pondering (okay…perhaps worrying) about this incident that happened with my ex. I felt the need to clear it up; so, I could keep moving forward. So, I called my ex and apologized for something i did right after we broke up. This was not something momentous or ultimately relationship changing; but, was something I did in a crazed moment and it hurt her.

    After a moment of silence, she said: I know that you were doing the best you could in those circumstances.

    It was such a gift and lovely reminder, not only of the idea that I was doing my best; but, a reminder of what an extraordinary person she is and I feel blessed that I got to spend the first half of my adulthood with her. As I enter the relationship, that I suspect will bring me through the second half of adulthood, I know that I will do the best that I can and my partner will too.

    Thanks for this post!

    • Ann, Thank you so much for sharing your touching, wonderful story. It is so beautiful when someone can travel back to events from their past and not only make amends for it, but be “absolved” in the best way possible. You and your ex are obviously BOTH amazing people!

      I hope that this new relationship brings you many surprises, joys, and opportunities in the years to come! Dont’ forget to treasure the scary, worrisome, falling-head-over-heels moments! They are so awesome in retrospect! ;-)

      Thanks for writing!

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