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Memories of childhood are a fragile thing.  The good things slip away while the negative things are enhanced.  History is revised and pain is magnified.  We carry a lot of baggage from our childhoods and struggle to let it go.

I spoke with one of my closest friends and, naturally, we spoke about motherhood and our children.  “You?” she said, “You were the Martha Stewart of mothers!”  Me?  She recalled the baking, the art projects, special foods, clothing, the trips and other things forgotten by the wayside. She said she was there all along and saw how much I did.  She said that she wished that my children could hear the love that I speak with for them and the sorrow that little of it seemed to be remembered.

We have photos, emails and witnesses to our efforts to succeed as parents.  But, layers of fear and insecurity lodge deep in our hearts and minds no matter how old we get.  Sibling rivalry seems to continue and anger blossoms.  We replay and repeat stories until they intensify in their importance or we create “new” memories.

As young adults, we seek to do everything differently than our parents and cover up the psychic wounds with activity.  As we get older, we doubt the level of love and connection to our family members.  My parents certainly didn’t love every decision or behavior of mine, but, thankfully, we had open dialogue about it.  Did they love us enough? Was their love “unconditional”?  I don’t know anyone who is loved unconditionally.   Loved fiercely? Absolutely.  But, while we love deeply, we do not always agree with the choices made or individually developed personal philosophies.  We are separate persons with different experiences and opinions.  These ideologies are just not our own, so our understanding differs.

Our children never stop being our children whether young or old.  I still get a thrill when I get a smile from my father or hear a shared memory.  But, I can also flinch when I hear his anger and feel like a young child again.  It takes a lifetime to figure out who we are within, and without, our families.  We don’t always remember the same moments from a single event, but we love.

We have layers of history and time that cannot be replaced.  No one will know us as long as the members of our family.  We create many friends who become like family.  But the bond of parenthood goes deep.  We never want to hurt our children and struggle to communicate this.

“Life is like an onion.  You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”                                                  Carl Sandberg

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Our words are misunderstood as judgmental or disapproving.  Our tone, our words, our actions, and our motives are questioned and doubted.

I only have so much time to impart lessons and envy those with symbiotic relationships with their children.  My hope has been that my children turn out to be good people, kind and empathetic, in and out of the home.  I don’t expect them to live near me, but I do hope that they succeed in whatever it is that they do.  Whatever “happy” means, I want them to find it.

It takes a lifetime to be a parent, but we keep trying to show them the depth and layers of our love no matter how long it takes.

children are the only people that bring you to brink of insanity.jpg

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children begin by loving their parents rarely do they forgive them_oscar wilde

One of the hardest struggles is loving your adult child in your way and being interpreted by him/her in his/her own way.  You struggle to keep them safe from the moment that they are conceived.  Words of apology, even when you are not wrong, are said over and over like words fading into the mist.  Sometimes, they are heard; most times, they are dismissed like so much air.

We do not stop loving our children no matter how old they are.  The problem is that despite trying to create a positive and loving relationship, your love doesn’t seem to be as unconditional in another’s interpretation of the word.  Semantics are in play — words are all we have to communicate with — and yet Noah Webster would be hard-pressed to come up with the right ones to soothe.

If we stopped speaking to everyone we loved, but disagreed with, no one would be married longer than a week.  Loving and committing ourselves to someone means that we continue to try to communicate, comfort, or converse, even when we disagree or have beliefs that are different.  Each person goes as far as they can with an idea or ideal.  Sadly, there are instances where we behave badly.  Yet, our human nature is to replay the bad ones and forget the millions of good ones.  Each repetition of pain with a loved one, magnifies, enhances, and embellishes the anger in our mind.  Our limits are different and therefore we each do as much as we can in creating strong relationships.

So many feel that they are not loved as they want to be.  Perhaps, it is the massive amounts of media at our fingertips, and the talented scriptwriters, with actors who behave as directed, that leads us to believe in perfectly conceived happy endings.  Every magical word is heard and observed and the healing begins.

As a parent, I still disappoint my children.  When I was growing up, I sought not to disappoint my parents.  Our societal demands and personal expectations have changed.

Someone else’s parents “really know” how to be better, more loving, more supportive, and encouraging.  Of course, that degree of separation also makes for less psychological baggage and long-term accumulated psychic wounds.

We are so easily wounded because our hearts remain open to our children always and they seem to have the barbs to repeatedly pierce them.  Yet, we keep trying, no matter how long we are here to make a difference, convince them otherwise, express that our love is wide, deep, and consuming, while assuring that we are here, and always at a distance.

I am glad that my children find comfort in their adult connections and am happy that they have found those people who love them in the precise manner that they desire to be loved. Someday, I hope I will be a member of that group.

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Thank you for stopping by.  Please feel free to add your experiences or thoughts.  It means more than you know.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/struggle/

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’ve Become My Parents.”

grammar appreciation

We were raised to speak clearly and well. Clarity and vocabulary were hallmarks of our childhood.  My mother would tell us it costs nothing to give a compliment and it will make someone feel so good.  Today, when I do it, I have been told by some people that it is strange or unusual. Perhaps, that is why it needs to be done more often because it makes someone else feel extraordinary. Truly, who does not want to be appreciated for the nice things that they say or do?

The courtesy and manners instilled into us meant that “Please” and “Thank You” were used liberally.  The appreciation was sincere and meant. One of the sweetest memories I have of such teaching occurred while my child and I were shopping for groceries.  He was four years old and we headed for the checkout counter to pay.  After we had paid at the register, but before we had moved on, my son looked at the cashier and said “Thank You.”  Flowers bloomed in her face and light came into her eyes that she was acknowledged for her service and not just someone that people were rude to or ignored.  I was so proud that the lessons I tried to impart were heard and shared with others.

One of the other famous refrains in our house was the accuracy and use of our words.  For years, in repeating a story, we would say “he goes” or “she goes,” to explain what the person had said.  People do it all the time. However, when that occurred my father would solemnly tell us “He didn’t go anywhere. He said.”  My children still hear that refrain from me when they are speaking.  I cannot hear someone talk that way without feeling the trigger response.

Appreciation, communication, gratitude, and respect were cornerstones of our upbringing.  Seen from an adult perspective, that is the sum of all the little reminders and teachings each day of our young lives. How blessed we were to witness this as my parents modeled such behavior.

So, although I could keep going on about the lessons our parents taught us, I will not. That’s what she said.

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Thanks for stopping by!  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

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contortionist woman

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Thanks for stopping by! Having one of those days……?

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