Parents and Their Children

It's no secret that I do not have a good relationship with my mother. If you're my Facebook friend, you've probably shaken your head at my open, blatant dislike and my statements. Most people think that I should keep my mouth shut, maybe take the high road, but I never do. I think that it's because the hurts that parents cause their children are so deep.

I feel like I lost the parenting lottery. Neither of my parents are in my life. I can say wonderful, positive things about both of them, and obviously I appreciate the fact that they gave me life, but neither of them have ever made me a priority. Truly, I question whether or not either of them loves me at all.

Without getting into specifics, I will say that I think that my life is better without my parents in my life. My dad simply doesn't have the time for me and my mother causes me way too much stress and angst. As an adult and as a parent myself, I look at my friends who are close with their parents and I always feel sadness and a little bit of jealousy.

I wish that could call my dad and talk to him about my life and my problems. I wish that he had a relationship with my kids, because they deserve grandparents like I had, and I wish that I enjoyed doing things like having lunch and dinner with my mom. I wish that we went and got manicures together and we hung out. However, none of this is my reality. I haven't spoken to my father with any amount of frequency in over a decade and I am pretty sure that my last exchange with my mother ended in profanities.

Every day, I am grateful that my kids are going to have a better relationship with their parents than I do. Both their father and myself are incredibly committed to our kids feeling like they can approach us with anything at any time. My parents are not what I would consider a successful parenting scenario, but they have been a great example for me of what not to do as a mother and of what I don't want for my children.

Over the weekend, I went with a friend to see a movie and we happened to see The Glass Castle which is based on one of my favorite books and follows the lives of dysfunctional family. Although it does not mirror my upbringing, I can relate to it on a very personal level. I watched as drugs and alcohol robbed me of both of my parents and I watched as they made lives distinctly different from anything I could imagine for myself. I also loved/love them in spit of everything.

There is very little defense for many of the things my parents are doing or have done regarding me, however they both have qualities that I would like to carry forward. In both bad ways and good ways, they have shown me the way. Love is a funny thing that way. As I sat in that movie theater, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I remembered what it was like to watch my mom smoke crack and I remember the way I feel when she says mean, abusive things to me. I also remember watching musicals with her on the pull-out bed in the living room of our first house. I can hear her voice, singing my favorite lullaby. These are all parts of me, they contribute to my general approach to life.

As a child, I may not have had much control, but as an adult I have a choice. I can live my life however I want to and I can be whatever type of parent I want to be. I can direct my feelings and my energy to all of the hurt and the pain or I can channel it and do my best to be the mother my children need and deserve. I can use my mother's example to drive me to be a better friend and a better human being. Thanks to my father, I have siblings who I love and adore who help me function as an all-around better person than I could ever imagine being without them.

I suppose it is all a matter of perspective. Am I lucky to have the parents I do? Maybe. I'm not sure. I do know that I am lucky to have the life I do today and that I wouldn't change it, so in the end I think it's best that I look at those failed relationships with gratitude for getting me here.

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