Understanding.

June 23, 2009 at 9:14 am | Posted in My life | 15 Comments

For so many years, I held such ANGER at my parents over my upbringing. Over how they tried to control me. Over the yelling, the hitting, the anger in our house. Over the fact that I never really ever felt LOVED by them when I was a kid.

And in every one of my dreams which featured them, I was yelling at my mother. I never wanted to call them. I would get stressed out before a visit with them.

And no matter HOW much I intellectualized that they were young, they were poor, they had three kids, it was the seventies, etc – I just couldn’t let it go.

So ultimately, the reason why we’ve gotten along as well as we do has always been because we live multiple states away from them.

But then I had Baby O, and my parents came to visit for two weeks. And my mom cleaned my house, and she was there when Baby O spit up (what seemed to be the contents of his stomach at the time) for the first time, and she held him and told me to take a nap.

And surprisingly, she didn’t drive me crazy. In fact, when they LEFT, I felt sort of sad.

And then when he turned one, they came up for a week again. And they kept Baby O home with them, and took care of him overnight while J and I got away, and lived with us for a week.

And again, it was NICE to have them here.

I’ve found myself wishing that they were closer so that they could see Baby O more. Because my parents totally ROCK the grandparent thing. Because I remember how often my own grandparents came to see us – we saw them once a week, at least.

Because I can tell my mom adores Baby O and wants to spend more time with him.

So on Father’s Day, my father casually mentioned that he had a phone interview with a hiring manager for a job at a company in New Hampshire.

Which would put them a half hour away from where we live.

He’s been out of work for 9 months now. Until an offer’s in his hand, I’m not sure he’ll get excited about anything. But at the same time, I found myself thinking:

That would be pretty cool.

To have them living close by.

It’s funny. As Baby O grows and the months slip by, I think I’m starting to understand them better.

Because it’s HARD being a parent. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. There are SO MANY nights where when Baby O goes to bed, I want to join him.

But there are mounds of dishes and preparing lunch for the next day and cleaning up and paying bills and myriad other things which need to get done.

And we’re fortunate that we have someone actually clean our house for us. And I have a job which gives me adult interaction and intellectual stimulation for 40 hours a week. And we only have one child. Not three.

In being a parent myself, I’m starting to see. Their desire to control me was really borne of confusion. Because nothing they did, discipline-wise, worked – the more they tried to control me, the more rebellious I got. So they thought they needed to be stricter. They were TRYING to parent me, I just presented a huge challenge. And it WAS the 70s (well, the 80s when I was giving them trouble). No one READ books on parenting in those days.

They did they best they could. And they did care enough to TRY. Over and over and over and over.

And now that I’ve got Baby O, I am remembering more and more of the FUN we had. The trips to the playgrounds. That my dad built us a sandbox. The imagining my mom helped us do. (When we’d ask “What’s for dinner, mom?” She would say “Spider soup. With a nasty smelly sock to it for good measure!”) The food fights they used to have at dinnertime. Our yearly trips to Great Adventure and the beach.

So having Baby O has been catharsis for my relationship with my parents, too. Because I GET some of it. And though I work really hard at trying to make it so that Baby O will NEVER doubt my love for him, I know that my parents love me. And they always have.

Even if they weren’t so good at SHOWING it when I was growing up.

And so if they DO end up moving here?

I think it would be a pretty good thing.

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15 Comments »

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  1. That is a gorgeous post. It is amazing how our little ones teach us. I am so so happy to hear that baby O has helped heal your relationship with your parents.

  2. Amazing.
    My mother told me that babies have a way of changing people (like my MIL) and they bring people together. Little miracles they are. Even if she hadn’t helped me heal relationships, she is helping me heal from the hurt of infertility (I still have hurts, but they aren’t so raw).

    O is too adorable and amazing to not help heal things. I’m so happy for you guys.

  3. Funny how having children puts some of our own parents decisions in perspective. I guess our mom’s were right when they said, “Wait until you have kids!”.

    See in my house, my mom was very relaxed with the rules. I was begging for more structure, more rules, but never got them. So, now I’m seeing that I try to set some pretty good boundaries for K (and soon for L) without overdoing it.

    I wish my mom lived closer to us. I wish that everyday. My own maternal grandmother lived across the street from us growing up. She was a constant in our lives. I would love that for K and L, much to J’s chagrin ;).

    At any rate, I’m glad you have made some peace about your upbringing. I’m glad that you want to be closer to your parents. Yet another perk to having Baby O :D.

  4. Awww that was an awesome post!!! Although I have some of the same realizations, I am still VERY happy that my parents live far away…

    I really hope that your dad gets the job!!!

    Hugs,
    Rebel

  5. That’s great that baby O is helping you get over some of your feelings about your parents (I think my baby is stirring mine up, as I see my dad doing all the things I hated again). It’s nice to be able to let go of those things.

  6. Nice post! I have many issues with my parents, especially my mother–now I do understand both of them more (still have estrangement with my mother, but I can see she really does care for the grandkids).

  7. i love this post. thanks.

  8. Having grandparents around is such a blessing. G and I thank our lucky stars that my parents are close by and watch Lemy for us during the day. And she adores them too, which is nice as I don’t feel guilty if I have to leave her for a little bit.

    Hoping that it all works out for the best for you and your family! 🙂

  9. Wow, S, I’ve “known” you for a while now and this post gave me such a great feeling. Over the years you’ve discussed your relationship with your parents and the issues. This seems like such a happy revelation! I lived 6 hours away from all of my grandparents so having my mom and dad here and them getting to have a close relationship with M has been awesome. I hope it all works out!

  10. I think its great that you’re understanding your parents a bit more. For me I grew up feeling loved and nurtured and protected and respected. So for me its a bit of the opposite that once I grew up and turned into an adult and a parent, I started having problems with my parents. Its like they(mostly my mom) couldn’t accept me as an adult. And it sounds like your parents are better at dealing with you as an adult…and thats a good thing for sure since adulthood lasts much longer than childhood 🙂

    And the good thing is that 30 minutes away isn’t just down the block…so there would still be some boundaries. And thats a good thing too 🙂

  11. Lovely post this Serentilty.

    I sort of had the same relationship with my mother when I was a kid, we were never very close as a result but since being a parent myself its true you understand them differently. You see things through their eyes and you sort of forgive them for their shouting and lack of parenting skills!

    My mum too is amazing when she comes to stay. She tidies, and cooks and babysits. I often think its the fact that we see her only from time to time that keeps us away from each others throats 😉

    Hope it all works out if they do come to live nearby, would be nice if it did.

  12. I would love, absolutely LOVE to have my parents close by. They live 4 hours away. D.’s parents are about 45 min away, but it is not the same, and they are not one tenth as helpful as my own parents are or would be.

  13. I love this post too, because I often hear my mother in my head when I’m losing it lately. I don’t want to be the “yeller” like they were, but I totally get some of it now. you’re pushed right to the end of the rope. Actually knowing that and knowing that in thier way and in the arms, they LOVED me and my siblings..makes me calmer when I am losing it, knowing we’ll all get through it and I don’t HAVE to….My kiddos are going to know that I love them even when I yell.
    You said it best.
    Incidentally, when I was a teenager, I was the least likely person to want to be near my mom when i was grown..mostly because I look so much like her and am so much like her…but through the IF and now through motherhood,she’s the ROCK that keeps me together. She is 10 minutes away and she loves the boys. ADORES is a better word. And it’s nice to see. I didn’t know how she’d do as agrandma (LOL) but it’s amazing to see her with them. I “see her” and it’s amazing.

    Good luck to your dad and thanks for this post, it’s wonderful. 🙂

  14. Wow, that is a really great post. I totally understand it. My parents were poor, I was born in the 70’s, and our house was filled with a lot of frustration and angst re: parenting 3 kids.

    There are some days when I call my Mom and say “So Sorry!!” or “Thank You for not killing me!”. It really does put it all into perspective, doesn’t it?

  15. That sounds lovely. I’m happy your relationship with your folks is blossoming.


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