I long ago officially became my mother, someone I swore to never become. I am much more self aware and work very hard to temper my sharp edges because I know from personal experience how deep they cut and how long they sting. I don’t want to forge that sort of relationship with my kids, though sometimes I do. It’s too easy to send a damning parenting diatribe out on my mom because for all intents and purposes she did her best and was a good parent. And I was lucky beyond most and given opportunities, even as a 1st generation America, that most aren’t. For all her flaws none were so unbearable even if many were very shaping.
I’ll never gain the confidence that others have but I’m too old at this point to point a finger at an aging woman. My flaws and insecurities and limitations are as much on my shoulders as hers. She shaped them and I took the ball and turned them into a mantra. I look at people who achieve great things at a young age and I’m torn between envy and inspiration. I never had the confidence to believe I could do such things. I’ve more than a little stumbled along a directionless path searching for my light.
It would be easy to say with different parents I might have achieved a different life. Of course I would have but then other things would have changed as well. I have to accept the paths I’ve taken to get me here to this point. Sometimes that’s a bitter pill to swallow filled with shaming hindsight and resignation. Other times I’m empowered thinking despite a lot of things I’m at a great place in life.
I work hard to take the many goods of my mom and filter out the many bads so that my kids get the best of us both. I fail often, falling back on tried and not necessarily true forms of guidance. Someday they may have their own blog where they lament the realities of their childhood. All I can say is I hope they remember, I did my best.