A sort of apology to the parents

It is a truism that when you are small you believe you’re dad to be the largest, tallest man in the world. When they lift you up in their arms you feel as if you may hit the ceiling. But you know you will not because he is your dad, he’s got you.

Many stories have been dedicated to what happens after you stop seeing a parent as a parent and start seeing them as a person. Faults in their character may explain some childhood difficulties. The thing that drives you the most crazy about them does, in fact, slowly and sneakily slide in to your own nature.

For instance, my mother is known for her corny jokes. She is the queen of saying something completely ham and then laughing at her own self. She can charm anyone she meets. Including herself. This used to bother me. Until my husband pointed out that I do the exact.same.thing.

Maybe I am beginning to soften a little. Or maybe I’m just tired of putting value in the things that are too heavy to keep carrying. Either way, I think those of us who are growing up could be a little easier on the parentals. Especially the only children and firstborns (needless to same I am in one of these categories). Why them? Because when it was your first time being a baby and a kid, it was their first time being a mom and a dad.

We are all going to get it wrong sometimes. We are all given abundant grace from the one parent who matters the most. Why not spread that around? Lather up that grace like sunscreen and apply it to mom and dad (and sister and brother) so that they will feel cared for. You can start out small with this. Say, SPF 15. Or baby oil for those of us who start with baby steps.

Two instances are in my memory reel of when I was a straight up little shit to my mom. The first time she wanted me to clean my room so I tied up each end of a jump rope to either sides of the room and told her to close her eyes when she walked in so she could “be surprised” at how clean it was. The other was went we were throwing a ball in the pool and I told her so coldly, “You could never be a ball player.” This was probably during that one or two year phase of softball (which I myself completely failed at).

Those moments do not make me a bad kid. A bully, yes, but not necessarily a bad person. When I ask my mother if she remembers this, she says no. She, like the Lord, sees the perfect and the mess.

 

July 13

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