I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter O.
~*~*~*~*~Dear Mom & Dad,
There is a long list of reasons why I could be a bitter person after experiencing a childhood like mine. For a few years, I was that bitter person; pining away because you never lived up to my expectations. Above all, I felt like an afterthought. I felt as if my existence was more of a nuisance to you than it was a joy. I'd look in the mirror and see the two of you in my reflection, and I'd get angry that you could create me and then not love me. From my side of the fence, it didn't even seem like you tried.
But now I'm a parent. And I get it.
I understand just how hard being a parent can be. I've gained perspective and wisdom on the difficulties of co-parenting a child with someone you can't stand. The uncomfortable balance you try to maintain when new relationships and children are added to the equation. I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and that a lot of times when we try our hardest, our kids can't see that effort. They see the failure and nothing more. I get that sometimes it's hard to let go of our own personal needs or wants for our children. I get that when the hard work we put in goes unnoticed, it becomes discouraging. It all makes so much sense to me now that I'm going through it and I wish I had even a fraction of this knowledge back then b/c I think it would have saved us all a lot of heartache and frustration.
I'm sorry to say that there were points in my life when I hated you both. I'm sorry for all the hurtful things I said either to you or about you behind your back. It wasn't fair. Even if you agree you weren't the best parents, the fact of the matter is you had reasons for the choices you made at the time. Somewhere inside, you had to have thought you were doing the right thing. You certainly didn't hurt me intentionally. You never wanted to let me down. The life I lived was not the life you envisioned for me. You didn't set out to make things difficult or cause me to struggle. It wasn't something you planned.
I will always be here for you.
Life is taking me in a million different directions and I know my focus is primarily on my children and husband. But if you ever need me, I will always make time for you. When you're struggling, I will listen or pitch in and help in any way possible. You can count on me. It's not a burden and it's not a hassle. We're family and I love you. So if I don't intuitively know what you need, don't be afraid to tell me. I want to help and I want you to be comfortable enough to come to me with your troubles.
I guess my point in all of this is that the parent/child relationship is a powder keg of emotion. All of these needs, expectations, abilities, and varying personalities make it the touchiest of all relationships a person will have in their lifetime. One wrong move and the whole thing blows up, leaving us to pick up the debris and try to rebuild something stronger with all the broken little pieces. Our relationship and interaction may not always be the greatest. Maybe we go long periods of time without talking, maybe we argue or fight, maybe we just drive each other crazy. All of that is healthy and normal. We're not the only people who have a history of ups and downs, but none of it is unforgivable.
In the end, the past is meant to be used as a lesson book and not a scorecard. Every single day I am learning that parenthood is the hardest role I'll ever fulfill. I'm going to screw it up on a pretty regular basis, just as you did, and your parents did, and their parents did. It doesn't make any of us bad people; it makes us human. If you ever felt like the villain in my own little fairy tale, I want you to know that's not the case. I'm a better person for all the things you did and didn't do along the way. You did a good job and I appreciate you.