With a son's wedding tomorrow I am thinking about my kids, my life, my husband and love.
I came into this world and was raised into a judgmental family. I am not trying to be judgmental here, just trying to understand.
Sometimes it was subtle and sometimes not so much. My mom would say thing like "your dad always leaves his whiskers in the sink after he shaves". Okay, that happens. But it was said as a judgement of him. That he was a slob, or inconsiderate, or just dumb. But so many things were like that. After not seeing her for a long time, getting off the plane and met with, "what did you do to your hair?". Not "how are you, how was the flight"
As a happily dancing little ballerina, my dad would say to my mom (about me) "does she have to run around in that outfit (leotard)? Why? What did I do wrong? Did I look stupid? Was I stupid?
I could go on and on but I am not sure what's what I want to do.
My point is this; I came into marriage expecting everything to be perfect. And when it wasn't, I saw it as an affront, and a sign of not being loved, respected, cared about. Leaving socks around the house- a common point of contention. I would get so mad and it kept happening. So, I figured I was either married at a jerk, or I was not lovable and not worth caring about.
Truth is, neither of those things. I was hyper critical and he was hyper laid back and confused.
Fast forward. We had kids. I was "supposed" to be a prefect mother. I thought it would be so easy. You love your children and everything falls into place.
The trouble is, I was too busy judging myself. And falling short. I would feel lonely at home alone with my firstborn. I would nurse her, play with her, clean house and then what? Thank goodness I found La Leche League- or it found me. I learned that it's okay NOT to be perfect. It's okay to surrender to mothering. It took me years and years and many babies to sort of settle into mothering.
I never doubted the love I have for my children. I never doubted Nick's love of being their father. But I still took everything personally. If anyone was hurt, sad, mischievous and later , having troubles in school, I always blamed myself on some level. And, live my mom getting angry over the whiskers in the sink. Was I mad at the event, the kids or my own failings?
I wasn't always the kind, understanding mother that the kids deserved. For that I will always be sorry.
What inspired me to write this morning? As I said, reflecting.
I often think about my [adult] children and what I think that they should be doing. How they "should" be succeeding. But I am not even sure what success means.
Deep down, these amazing people have a grip on my heart, They cannot possibly know how I feel. I hurt for them even when they are not hurting because I don't want them to hurt or struggle. They are adults. They are amazing. They have their challenges, but they are competent adults who don't need me in the ways they did as babies.
It takes my breath away when I ask myself, how did I get so lucky. How did these amazing fully formed people come into my life.
In the airport on the way to Portland the other day, Nick and I observed families traveling with children. Traveling with sweet little babies. Traveling with energetic toddlers. Traveling with teens who would like to pretend that they have no idea who these parental units are.
We did that. We were them. And we did it a lot. I don't how how we did it! We survived. We arrived with the same children we left with.
They grow up,get married. Get divorced. Get jobs. Leave jobs. And I thought it was amazing each time one of them tool their first steps. But that was just the beginning.