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Pondering Parents

...ahead of Mother and Father's Day...

parents graphic

When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be just like my mom. Then I turned thirteen and became less enamored of the idea. Fortunately, I matured between then and now. I don’t mind being like my mom now. There are qualities and choices of theirs that I actively tried to integrate into the person I’ve become (becoming? Still a work in progress!). 

But…when my mom and dad passed away, I realized I knew them more as parents than as people. Going through their things, seeing the parts of their lives that were out of my sight, was both healing and revealing. 

I know this post is late for Mother’s and early for Father’s Day today, but they’ve been on my mind a lot recently (and not just because of ALL the ADS, sigh).

I think part of it is our never-ending renovation. My dad would have found it all very interesting. And I think he would have approved. I know I felt him close while our contractor straightened out the kinks in our plumbing and brought order to some serious crazy. He would have liked our contractor who is a problem solver (thank goodness!).

My dad was a problem solver, too, though I suspect he’d be glad he didn’t have to be the one to solve the problems we discovered opening up our walls. LOL From him, I learned that I can solve my problems, too, either by thinking differently or allowing time to carry me to a solution. He was a very practical man who saw more than people realized. I know he could see problems coming when they were way out there and raised a warning that wasn’t always heeded.

I know my mom would like what’s going on, too, but my sense of her presence is different. She would be more interested in the finishes than the rough stuff. She had a good eye for what worked and what didn’t. 

And now that she is gone, I feel myself becoming more like her as if I’m taking on her role. I won’t lie, sometimes that scares me because she did not have a smooth ride into those “golden years.” When I wince as I straighten after sitting too long? Yeah, I see her in me.

I was doing some stuff the other day and I reached out and saw my hands and felt this sense of how my hands are becoming her hands as I age. And I see an echo of me doing things she used to do. Like when I smooth the hair back from a grandchild’s face. When I make a bed the way she taught me. Or when I’m doing almost anything in the kitchen. 

That I even know what to do in a kitchen or how to make a bed is because of my mom. Those things remind me of her, but then I remember all the other things she taught me. Things like live in peace with your neighbors and don’t save your bacon grease if you have a toddler. Don’t make enemies, make friends. Forgive early, forgive often. Don’t let others’ expectations decide how you act or how you feel. Be happy. 

My mom loved being a mom and my dad loved being a dad. They loved all of us fiercely and we were not always that loveable. lol

Both of them taught me to be brave or at least try to be brave. Sometimes I’m not brave and I can almost hear them saying, “It will be better in the morning.” Oh, that’s something else they taught me, that things always feel worse at night but the morning comes and your view will change. So don’t make big decisions at night.

They weren’t perfect. They had human flaws and failings like the rest of us, but that’s another thing they taught me. I didn’t have to be perfect to be worthy of their love. It’s hard living in a world without them. They knew me and saw me in a way that no one else could, but because of them, I know I how to live without them. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. They raised me to let go, to live my life. 

I knew some of this before I lost them and I tried to tell them that. I think they knew. They were savvy in the ways of their children. 

I knew they were great parents, but I didn’t know it the way I do now. I wish I could tell them. If your parents are still living, be sure to hug them, not just on Mother’s and Father’s Day but every time you can. 

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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