I remember my mom putting me uncomfortably on the spot once. She had watched the Jay Leno show. Jay was talking about the recent death of his mother and that she was his best friend. My mom said "I hope that you feel like I am your best friend when I die". I did not answer. I felt blindsided. I did not know how to respond.
Frequently on Facebook I see memes that say "appreciate your mother,she's the only one you will have". Or something to that matter. Occasionally I share these on Facebook. But I often feel a bit like it is passive aggressive.
I feel like I am putting myself out there fishing for my kids to say how wonderful I am. I am insecure I guess.
I do know that all of my children love me. I also know that parents and adult children have complicated relationships.
My parents and I had complicated relationships. I loved them. I hated them. I resented them. And I was afraid of them. I wanted to feel unconditionally loved. I don't know why I didn't. I was always afraid of getting in trouble. I was afraid of being ugly and stupid. My parents (mainly my dad) offered me money for every "A" I got on my report card. I might have gotten a couple of them. My mother told me once that I was too ugly to be her child. I suspect she said it in passing and didn't even remember it. But here I am 65 and it still bothers me.
And so, I think about my own adult children. And I wonder what things I said and did that I am not aware of, yet they are still carrying. I remember the times when I lost it and yelled and said mean terrible words. And I know that they way I recall events is most likely different than how they remember them. I think that each of the versions has it's own truth to the one who holds onto it.
For most of the time we were living overseas, I wrote letters (pre email). I especially wrote to my sister. At least once a week.
I want to write to my kids. I do. But I am not sure what I can say. I might say something that I think it encouraging and positive and get a reply that suggests that I am being judgmental. I might say "I hope that you are experiencing the beauty of the trees and the clouds in the sky". and I get a reply saying that makes me wonder what I said wrong.
I don't want to say that I am "afraid" of my children. But I am aware that my words have weight that I am not totally sure I am even aware of.
My biggest fear is that I will drive my children away. I might ask what I think is an innocent question and get told to get fucked. So many of my friends are going through this. We walk on eggshells with our kids.
Maybe there's a lesson in it all. If so, I hope I can learn it somehow.
I remember so many wonderful things about life with a family of five kids. Making play dough. Cooking together. Jumping in piles of leaves. Going to concerts- their school concerts, or theater concerts like the ones at Constitution Hall. Introducing them to "Jaws"and "Casablanca". Spending hours at the pool. Playing board games like "Scotland Yard" I think it was called. Dinner at the table with all of us. Friends of the kids at the dinner table with us too.
Before I had children, I knew that I wanted to be a mother. I was going to be wonderful. If my kids wanted to jump on the furniture I would let them because I wouldn't want to crush their spirit.
Then I became a mother and realized that we had to have rules and boundaries. For their safety. For their ability to function in the world. To keep my sanity.
I miss all the racket. I miss the mess (sort of). I miss little knees that needed to have their boo boos kissed. I miss little warm bodies (and even teen aged ones) that would sit close and cuddle. A garage full of bikes. So many pairs of socks to match every time I did laundry.
I miss the teens and young adults. Speaking their minds. Learning the world and seeing it in new ways. Learning about social justice and responsibility and caring about people other than themselves.
I believe that we have launched 5 wonderful, caring, loving adults on the world.
Yup. That's my life.