Because I made you so, and all things considered, I think I did a pretty good job!
Every now and then I find myself in a conversation that ultimately finds my kids reminiscing about their upbringing. They’ll rag on about how I made them eat certain foods because it was good for them, and bedtime was strictly observed because children needed their sleep (actually I’d had enough and was pooped so their bedtime was really for my benefit,,,,ok, I said it,,,,, are you happy now?) Candy and junk food was limited, curfews were adhered to, and yes, I will admit it now, we kept a very close eye on the company you kept because there was always those kids that looked for trouble and we wanted to keep you away from them.
Now that my children are adult and starting families of their own I take a keen interest in how they will rear their children. Young mothers today reference the internet for advice on feedings, rashes, even sleep patterns, and of course all join a mom-chat room to consult with other young mothers (who know nothing). Did I pass on anything of value? I know I was the one who nagged. I was the one who yelled (oddly enough, since my children grew up and moved out I don’t yell anymore, coincidence? I think not) I was the one they all feared cause when mom’s in a ‘mood’, lookout!
What about dad? How come he’s never the bad guy? Whenever there’s a walk down memory lane, how come no one’s bashing him? Whenever a firm stand had to be taken, mom took the heat, and dad was the poor nice guy who helplessly shrugged and whispered, ‘ you know your mother.’ Dad was the popular one; the one they ran to when mom said no, looking for an appeal. But…..when they were struggling, in need of help, real help, who did they come to?
Because when push comes to shove, mom was their voice of reason. She made everything alright again. She comforted, supported, and yes, gave honest opinions that were not what you wanted to hear,,,,,but you needed to. She told you when your skirt was too short (can you see the eyes rolling?) She constantly reminded you to hold the door for someone behind you, and to say please and thank you. She did the hockey practices, ballet, swimming lessons. She oversaw homework, threw countless birthday parties, made you healthy lunches and most important of all, she taught you the value of family and tradition.
I am very grateful to my mother for the sense of tradition she instilled in us. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, they had a special meaning and routine. You prepared for the occasion, dressed for it, and celebrated it recognizing the importance of doing so together. Was my mother perfect? No way. Who is? She was a screamer (ok, that’s where I got it) and worked us hard. We had household chores and the expectation was high. And when I look back my father was the nice guy, mom was the heavy, but she made us what we are today. She was the enforcer and while I don’t condone all of her parenting methods, I am willing to acknowledge that she did the best she could with what she knew. And I like to think each generation improves upon the last.
I am not the perfect mother, but I did the best I could with the resources I had, and you didn’t come with an instruction manual, so all things considered, I think I did ok because you’re pretty amazing! (how’d that happen?)
Am I the best mother? No, but I’m damn good, and you are what you are today because of me.