Tuesday, June 12, 2007

parent guilt

I have a bad case of parent guilt. I love my parents. They gave me life. They supported me, allowed me to reach out and to grow. We didn't have much growing up, but they always provided me the best they could.

I thought my Mom was a saint. She had a very dysfuntional life growing up. I always admired her & couldn't believe how strong and generous she was. She was the "Cool Mom". Always had Koolaide & snacks for my friends. I always got to have the sleep-overs at my house. Was fun to talk to, gave us a ton of advice & enjoyed hearing the "what is going on with everyone". She never tattled on any of my friends for their bad habits or things she knew about them. Once when my girlfriend & I were trying to sleep in after a night out, she asked S. for her keys to move the car parked in the middle of the road rather than scolding us or questioning why we didn't have the good sense to park at the curb.

My Dad was incredible too. He managed very well dispite his handicap. He had been severely injured and has to live with many physical problems. He was funny, sometimes too funny with inappropriate jokes. I could never leave him alone for more than 3 minutes with a date. I made sure I was ready to go out the door without Dad having to have small talk. I would surely get embarrassed. He had a bunch of 8 tracks of Cheech & Chong, Richard Pryor & a few other comedians that would make him crack up for hours. The guys in the neighborhood loved him. He use to let them hop onto the back bumper when we had a ton of snow, and go "Bumper Skiing". Ask any guy from the old neighborhood about that! They loved it. Luckily, no one ever got hurt!

My parents didn't always make good choices though. As I got older it was hard to find out they were not perfect. I realized that my life was pretty dysfuntional as well. We had a revolving door of relatives & friends that would come & go, bringing their problems along the way. My parents always had room to help out. There were always money problems, drinking troubles, and just pure craziness. My sister's idea of coping with it all was to just avoid it. She would leave alot. She was the smart one always staying over at the friends with the strict parents. I always got stuck in the middle of the craziness.

As an adult our relationship changed. I needed distance. Saneness. My parents were developing more dysfuntions and I just wanted to be free of it. It made for hard times. It kills a Grandparent to be cut off from Grandchildren. I did what I had to do to protect my children.

Today it is lukewarm. I still love them & long to be close. I envy my friends that have wonderful loving relationships with their parents. My parents live about an hour away. I hardly ever see them. We email, talk on the phone & get together for the special occassions. Sometimes I forget how we are so oil & vinegar and make the mistake of thinking we are going to have a pleasant visit. My poor Mom says she feels like she is walking on egg shells when she is around me. Funny. I feel like the egg shells. My Dad likes to remind me that I am a bitch and much of the problem is me. My children are old enough to understand the dysfuntions and the consequence of choices. They get it. They love their Grandparents, even when Granny is nuts & Pops is mean.

My Mom has this way of pushing me over the edge. She gets me to have word vomit often. I always regret things I say to her. How come I can't learn to shut up? Do my words really help? Shouldn't I know by now, just to listen & not give my opinion when she ask? She is just looking for support not my two cents about what a mistake she is about to make...again. We exchanged those lovely words again last night. God, I wish I hadn't answered the phone! So, now I am saddened by how instead of making her feel better like she wanted, I got angry & made her feel worse. She wants to come by today. I just don't think I can behave the way she is wanting with her about to make a critical mistake. I have watched her make so many mistakes and really just want to see her & my father enjoy these golden years.

I am hoping that writing this is therapeutic and I can learn to bite my tongue. Mom is a great lady. I should be giving her more love & support, and when the rug gets pulled out... again, catch her instead of watching her fall.

1 comment:

A human kind of human said...

I have started reading your blog from the beginning and I hope you don't mind me adding my two cents worth. I had a truly wonderful Mom - she had her mistakes like we all do, but her philosophy was that you do not owe your parents anything, but what they have done for you, you owe to your children. Only now that I am a parent with grown up children of my own, do I appreciate this and I try to live by it also. So please, let go of the guilt, just as parents cannot bump their heads for their children, children cannot do it for their parents either. Relax girl, you are not responsible for them, concentrate on your own children, they are your future.