Friday, April 25, 2008

Carrying on the Tradition

I spoke with my father yesterday. We were trying to coordinate times for his visit today, and he made mention that some of us never had the luxury of "sleeping in" and "not having to worry about our children getting off to school in the morning." He is referring a telephone call several weeks ago when he and my mother called to wish one of my children a happy birthday before she departed for school in the morning. I was half-asleep when I answered the phone and I know I sounded otherwise groggy. Mind you, my children all are very independent and get themselves dressed, fed and off to school in the morning. They have a system, and it works. And it allows me to "sleep in" until 7:30.

I told him they are good kids, and that they have an "ecosystem" within the house. Everyone knows what chores belong to whom, and that it is expected to be done before that child leaves for school in the morning (not the afternoon chores, but the simple morning chores such as making lunch and doing ponytails, etc.). He asked how I was able to do that, and I simply replied that the children were held accountable and they knew their personal responsibilities. He lamented why he couldn't ever have my brother and I to adhere to any such "system", and that I was a "lucky" person. Memory is short--my bother and I got ourselves off to school just fine, thank you. Way after my parents left for work. I then said that my youngest son was a bear, and a very difficult child to deal with whereupon he exhaled and said, "GOOD." "Good?" I replied. "How can you wish such a thing on me?" I am thinking how he could wish such a thing on anyone. He thinks I was a terrible child. I was oppositional and defiant. I was disobedient and irresponsible. I take ownership of that, absolutely. But I am also of the school of thought that children are very much the reflection of their environments and the embodiment of the examples set before them.

I refuse to blame myself for some of the behaviors my parents have assigned to me. I take personal responsibility when my own children misbehave or if they indicate a negative thought process or behavior. I am their role model, after all. But what gets me is, how you can still hold a grudge against a 38-year-old mom of six kids--4 of whom are schoolaged and all 4 on the A/B honor roll--when she is a responsible, loving mother? Why do my parents still bring up the same old shit, and feel the need to remind others of it? Don't they realize this is a direct reflection of thier own parenting skills? Still, they insist it is a genetic thing...that they had no input.

This "vagrant" young lady...Navy veteran, Registered Nurse, Happy Mother, Efficient Mother...

I have that 5K tomorrow. For once it would be nice to be a winner. But I bet if I bring home a medal, my parents would simply say, "You are going to ruin your knees."

They have never been to one of my marathons. They have never been there for any of my races.

I promise as long as I am on this earth, that I will be there for each and every one of my childrens' accomplishments if feasibly possible...and that I will at least be on the phone for them.

I am so ashamed that at my age, I still would love the support of my parents in this way. I need to learn and let it go.