I watched a show where the mother of an adult woman passed away. They were close and had a friendship that I’ve never had with my parents… and I found myself grieving what I never had, and what I could never have, even if it’s another 30+ years before my parents pass away because that relationship of trust and security was never established.
Something I said to my husband the other night about it… I’m the grown up now and I have little ones looking to me to be what they need as their parents. I can’t dwell in what I didn’t/don’t have because it’s on me to provide it for these precious people. I’ve spent over a decade since becoming an adult searching, yearning, and desiring more from my parents, and now I feel I have to close that chapter and move on.
The desire isn’t gone, there is certainly overlap where I see myself momming my own little ones. With my oldest just a couple months from becoming a teenager, which was the most pivotal time in my young life and when everything fell apart, I see the need to let the broken and hurting parts of myself and the relationships it stems from to slip away. It’s not a lack of love, a lack of interest, or a lack of forgiveness… just simply less love and less interest, and a less important relationship to work through than the value in the one I have before me with my children. Nothing is more urgent than the energy and love I have to offer the babies that the Lord has entrusted to my care and if I’ve learned nothing from what I never had, it’s that no one can make that choice to be the parent that I needed, that my children needed, than the parent themselves. Me.
Parentless with parents was always a difficult position to be in… my parents live 10mins from me. They gladly, willingly, and even joyfully open their door to my growing family… they are there but there is a detachment present. Perhaps not for them, perhaps they don’t feel the disconnect and it’s something they don’t understand. I was oblivious to my need for them until my safety was shattered and all I wanted was them to fix what was broken… I was 13, searching for stable footing. Perhaps they could never repair it, no matter how they tried. All I know is that all I had was The Rock that I was standing on… I didn’t even acknowledge it was there, because I could only see the vast waters that surrounded me, empty but suffocating whenever I tried to step off. The only safety was on that Rock…
God was always just sitting there with me, and often I never noticed, much like a toddler keeps watch of their parents as they play but doesn’t notice their presence so much until they’ve returned from a trip to the store, and realized they weren’t right there, and how much they needed/wanted them. Sometimes this made me angry, because I longed to be scooped up and hugged, held, and loved on, showered with affectionate words of how special and important I was… but my parents were supposed to do that… instead, they had no idea how much I needed it and I had so many others filling my head that I was a horrible human.
I definitely fall short of where I could be, but I’m learning more and more of being comfortable in my skin and simply desiring to grow because that is inevitably what happens when you seek to be healthy and whole – not because I need to be better, not because I’m not good enough, not because I’m dirty or ruined. Simply because growing is what you do when you are loved and have value… and I am. I am loved. I am precious.
My parents were children once… they had siblings and they had to grow up and figure things out for themselves too. They had children and faced each other in marriage as they sought to survive and thrive and impart what they felt was best for their own family. I have compassion on them and what they had to work through… and I hope my children will give me grace and love through all my daily mess ups.
I envision the future with my children, seeing them marrying and having babies of their own, spending time with them and playing with them, passing on a legacy of love and compassion, hoping the message of their value in Christ sticks. I envision how I might respond to the mistakes I’ve made if they were to confront me with them and how I definitely wouldn’t respond. I don’t need validation anymore, but I did. I needed my parents to let me be angry at them and to say they were sorry. I needed them to say they wish they had done some things differently.
I don’t need that now. I still have anger, but I don’t need validation anymore. I don’t need them anymore… and now I’m faced with ‘what if they die’ what will I do. Will I be okay? Will I have wished I done things differently. Should I give them the time with my kids before they die? Am I hurting my kids if I don’t give that relationship to them? I’m left wondering what the right things to do are,what would make me a good daughter or a good mother or a good person? But ultimately, I just think about what’s going to help my family thrive.
I can’t be everything to everyone, and I am struggling with that, but I’m trying to embrace it. I’m simply not strong enough to be the daughter without what I need, as well as the mother I never had, for the children I’ve been given… trying to give all I am to them so they are not children without what they need… and perhaps this is how I’m without to begin with, because my parents couldn’t give me what they didn’t have themselves and were searching for it as well… but alas, that doesn’t change anything other than perspective, which is good because it leaves me aware but in the same place.
This is a moment… and I leave room for everything to change in any such moment… but I also acknowledge where I am in every moment also and this is where I am, counting each moment as precious in the lives of my children above all else as I walk out God’s calling on my life – to be a mother. The hardest, most rewarding, most challenging, most crazy-making thing I do… and right now, that’s all I have time for.
If someone makes it like I’m in a bad place or that I’m thoughtless of their own needs, then they don’t have my own kids’ needs in mind and they can wait. Anyone else who gets it, will get it and support that, and will wait willingly.
I am taking all I have to be closer to Jesus and pour everything I have into what God calls me to. It’s all about Him.