Parenting the parents

Hi lurking friend, how are you? I could do better, but things could’ve been worse. I do not intend to complain. But I most likely will share my complaints in here anyway. For that is the way I do…

Someone told me once;

‘as a kid you are led by your parents and as an adult you eventually will lead your parents’

When I heard this phrase, I realized that I was screwed. Because at the age of 5, I had to explain the following to my folks:

  1. How they should hide easter eggs during easter. Because they never did when I was little and I wanted my sibling to enjoy the pleasure of a scavenger hunt.
  2. That mom needs to behave in public. To this day I still have to ask her not to sneak up behind older people with a scary voice. And that the fat lady next to us can hear her.
  3. How dad should behave in public. Farting loudly in a restaurant just isn’t funny. Or is it?
  4. How dad should try counting to 21 before throwing a fit; Throwing sand at little kids because they were teasing my sibling in the sandbox isn’t a mature way of handling things.

These were just a few situations that occurred when I was a kid. I learned that I had to be a smart ass and parent my parents. My parents have been a real good example of what I hope never to be like as a parent myself. As a teenager I therefor had a hard time respecting my parents and found myself feeling angry and embarrassed most of the time. Angry, because I had to be the responsible one at a young age. Embarrassed, because I had no idea how to be the responsible one as a kid. And at one point I decided I never wanted to grow up, just wanted to remain a kid at heart forever. Because adults screw up and when they screw up, they hurt others in the process while denying that they screwed up.

I do have to say that there was more going on back then. My dad’s best friend was the bottle and both parents had a bad childhood. They were toxic to one another and therefor toxic for us as kids. And I thanked God when they finally divorced after 12 years of marital drama.

Coping with your own drama while raising children can be difficult.  I understand this, now that I am older. God helped me with letting go of my anger and embarrassment and to forgive both my parents.

For they are only human, too. And while I am getting older, they are getting older too. I just pray to God that they will both stay self-reliant for a long time. But I’m well aware that there will come a day maybe, when they won’t be able to wipe their own asses anymore. When that day comes, I want to be ready. Before that day comes, I want to try and make the most out of the time I spend with them as possible.

There’s a Japanese saying that goes “It can’t be helped” and it’s a phrase I live by. Things that happen can’t just unhappen. Those things just “can’t be helped.” And once you realize it can’t be helped, it’s easier to let it go. Because in the end, the things we think that matter don’t matter that much. It’s not about easter eggs, silly behavior or throwing sand at little kids. It’s not about substance abuse nor childhood drama. It’s about here and now, what you do with the here and now. Because life is now.

It’s easy to remain angry and to keep on focusing on what sucks in life. Be nice, even when the other isn’t nice. Be understanding even when you don’t understand at first. Always look on the bright side of life, it’s too short to waste on things that can’t be helped anyway.

And so I called my dad today, after not hearing from him for several months. We had quite an interesting conversation. When I asked him why he hadn’t called me for a while, he explained that he felt bummed out, because he felt embarrassed about overspending during his vacation. He was scared I’d lecture him or something. And so I told him “Dad, it can’t be helped”. He laughed. And then we talked about farting in public places.

Oh crap, look at the time! I have to go. Bye my lurking friend, take care.

[Another blog entry posted with the WordPress App for Android.]

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