Friday, May 9, 2008

My Lesson For Mothers Day

We all have mothers. But the differences are vast in what we think of them. Most of us know our mothers but some never met them. Some are with us and some have passed on. Some were wonderful and others downright evil.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have written a lot about my Mom on this blog. I am not going to repeat my adoration of her or my deep respect. I simply want to relate a light bulb moment that I had this week.

My Mom passed away in 2005. Things in our family have been very different since then. We all realize the tie to each other that Mom created for all of us and have done a pretty good job of banding together and being there for each other. We do pretty well to be scattered in 4 different states and on 2 different coasts.

My realization this week was also about my father. My Dad was a pretty good parent. He tried and he was a better father to us than his father was to him. But he is a difficult person. My Mom used to say he was like living with a piece of sandpaper. That is the perfect description. I appreciate his efforts but they frequently fell short. We had many battles as I was growing up because our personalities are similar. We butted heads most of my life. It is difficult to explain because I had a really happy childhood. Things between us got worse as I grew up and became more difficult. But then, as I became an adult and gained a small amount of wisdom, I realized I was never going to change him and I quit trying. I started to accept him for who he was and learned to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

So why, at 47 years of age, do I allow myself to be disappointed by him when he does exactly what I expect him to do? He has forgotten my birthday three years in a row since Mom died. I expect it. Still it hurts my feelings. I told him last week that I would be on a cruise on his birthday and wished him Happy Birthday in advance. When I returned, he shared all the details of his birthday and never asked how my cruise was. I didn't expect him to ask but was disappointed when he did not. Stupid me!!!

And then I realized why. It reminds me that Mom is not here. And I realized that my Mom made him the parent that he was when he was a good parent. She guided him just as she guided each of her four children. I knew that it was always her that created our happy childhood and our view of our parents but I never appreciated the impact she had on him as a parent. He no longer has that guidance. And being the person he is, he doesn't know how to do it on his own.

So, once again, he is doing the best he can. I can't change him. I need to accept him and quit being disappointed. I can do that. But I am just not ready to laugh about it yet.


Wanda said...

Tere ~~ This was the most profound and perfect summary of your parents, SO SO SO much like my own. My father and your's could have been brothers. However in my place, my father passed away frist, and those following years, my mother blossumed as a flower that didn't have to be rubbed against the sandpaper. She was our hero, and held our family together. She died in 1991 and I miss her so !!
What is it about Dads?? Just keep loving him ~~ and you'll have no regrets.

Ruth D~ said...

The sand paper comment . . . I know people like that. Sandpaper hurts sometime, but it can still wake you up and keep you on your toes. Sigh. Interesting, people are, and parents especially.