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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Daughter Business

I am participating in the Blogging From A-Z Challenge. Each day in April (except the last 4 Sundays), I will post topic themes that begin with the letters of the alphabet, from A-Z. There is a saying that a woman wears many hats. I'm no exception. During the course of the Blogging From A-Z Challenge, I'll be posting about the different facets of my life. Today's letter is D, which brings us to my role as a daughter.

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If there is one thing I am certain I fail at most of the time, it's being a good daughter. I wouldn't say I'm horrible; I'm just sure I could do better.

I have expressed my Mommy issues in a previous post so I don't feel there's a need to rehash them now. Also, I don't want to seem like I'm trying to disparage my mom at all b/c that's not my purpose. Our relationship is one that I grapple with internally b/c while I am able to be there for her when she needs me & love her to the extent that I can, I have a lot of guilt that I don't love her the way a daughter should love her mom.
Mom & Me 1982
I'm a dutiful daughter; I step in to do the things she can't do on her own and I am there whenever she needs me. While my brother barely speaks to her, I could never cut ties. Not just b/c of her medical problems, but b/c she is my mom & I truly believe that barring any serious abuse/neglect, family should stick together. I will be there until the bitter end & I hope that when she is gone, the fact that I stood by her through everything will be enough comfort to alleviate some of the guilt I have for not being able to love her completely.

When it comes to my Dad, again, the history isn't that great. However, he doesn't ever try to pretend like he did everything right as a parent, he has apologized more than I feel he needs to for the past, and I have a lot of respect for him.
Dad & Me 1980
There were many years we didn't speak at all, so the fact that we don't talk every single day doesn't seem abnormal to me. We text quite a bit & whenever one or the other of us is traveling nearby, we make it a point to get together. I enjoy spending time w/ my Dad b/c we have similar personalities. I used to think he was made of stone, but as I've gotten older, I realize that it's not that he doesn't care, he just doesn't really know how to express how he feels about certain things. He's very crass & cracks jokes a lot, which is where we find our common ground. Of my parents, he's by far the most stable.   **Photo circa 1980**

I've also been blessed with a Mother-in-law whom I love & respect. We don't see eye-to-eye on some things, but never to the point where we have argued or anything like that. She just has some ideals that I consider outdated. I'm sure she probably thinks I'm too progressive & unconventional. I know she wasn't happy that Justin & I went to Vegas to get married b/c she wasn't able to go. (She can be there for our vow renewal in 2016, though, so that might gain me a few points.)
Mom In Law & Me 2009
She isn't the kind of parent who tells her children she loves them, she just tries to show she cares by being present in their lives. Although she doesn't say the words, she definitely loves her children a lot and it's obvious to all of us that if she had to lay down in front of a moving truck for any of us, she would. **Photo circa 2009**

I really do try to be an attentive & loving daughter. I wasn't terribly out of control as a teenager, but I know I put my parents through the ringer more than once, so I make up for that by being the kind of child who doesn't make them lose sleep from worrying about me. I have a pretty solid handle on life, I don't do drugs or drink excessively. I take good care of my child, my marriage is stable, I have lived on my own since I was 16 years old & I have held the same job for over 11 years. My parents are all dealing w/ a lot right now. My mom has an inoperable tumor in her brain, my dad is currently going through chemo for colon cancer, and my mother in law is in the midst of selling the home she's lived in for over 20 years after a nasty divorce. The only way I alleviate the sense of failure as a daughter is by not adding any more stress to their lives. It's not perfect, but I'll take it.

14 comments:

  1. I just realized the "I don't do drugs or drink excessively" makes it sound like I do drugs. *lol* Let me rephrase: I don't do drugs ever & I don't drink excessively. I'm a dork.

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  2. What a wonderfully honest and I'm sure quite difficult post. I read the link to your previous post as well and your honesty rings through so clearly. I admire your commitment and fully understand your reasoning. Sounds like you are dealing with the situation with a lot of grace.
    Amy
    http://amywritesnet.blogspot.com/

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  3. Family bonds are often complicated. Love mixed with obligation mixed with hurt. It sounds to me like you are both realistic about your history and smart enough to make better choices in your own parenting. Good for you!

    Oh, and I understood what you meant with the drugs/drinking thiing. :O)

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    Replies
    1. *lol* I'm glad you understood. I was worried I'd sound crazy talking about my mommy issues & then saying something that makes me sound like a drug addict. :)

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  4. I think parenting is a crap shoot for some people. They have a child and they all of a sudden have to parent. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The fact that you know that and made a clear plan to parent your own child differently is the blessing here.
    You are a good woman doing the best she can with her history and her own now. That's all any of us can do.

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    Replies
    1. It really is a crap shoot for some folks & it's sad that they don't realize they're no good at it until after the kid is already here. After my childhood, my parenting plan became clear: do the exact OPPOSITE of what my parents did. So far it's working pretty well.

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  5. Family relations can be tough, they are not always a bed of roses. You are doing the best you can which is all you can do.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I was born w/ a guilty conscience, so even though the logical side of me knows I'm doing my best, there's always the nagging voice in the back saying it's not good enough.

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  6. I've said this before and will say it again, I am so amazed and proud of how freakin' awesome you turned out when you had to deal with the things you did. To have a bit of anger or a bit of a block when it comes to your mom is completely understandable. She didn't make you trust her, so why let your guard down completely? I have some childhood-issues anger towards my mom..nothing huge..but I also feel guilty about it. Like I'm being spoiled or unappreciative. Mother-daughter relationships can be very complicated, don't feel so guilty!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, friend! The mother-daughter relationship can be very mucky water to tread b/c as women, we're naturally these highly emotional beings. I'm working very hard not to over-complicate things w/ Trin b/c I want our relationship to be better. (So far, so good.)

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  7. Trish,

    Wow. Very strong writing. I feel like I walked into a therapy session, and that means all the emotions are RAW. Wish I could access all that depth so easily when I write.

    Found you on the a to z, and will definitely be back to read more of your powerful words.

    Feel free to take a peek at my blog if you have time:

    http://mothersofbrothersblog.blogspot.com

    best,
    MOV

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! :) I'm an over-thinker, so a lot of my posts tend to be therapy-esque. *lol*

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