This week I’m dedicating my Thankful Thursday to my mum (who doesn’t read this blog, so she’ll never know, but that’s beside the point).
My mum raised 3 girls, for all intents and purposes, on her own. My dad was “around”, but not really “there”. I know I put her through hell, wanting to live with dad, going out til all hours of the morning cruising around the coast with boys older than me, hanging out at the pool hall (yes I think I even wore flannel on occasion), walking around the house treating her and my sisters like crap. I did dumb things like drinking, smoking and shop lifting (I only did this twice, which I’m not saying is excusable or acceptable, but I just wanted to be clear it was not a habit).
Then when I was 18, I moved to the other side of the world to go to college. For all my downfalls, I had a little bit of talent. With my mum’s help and support, I packed up to go on an adventure. I still clearly remember waking up the morning I left, my suitcase at the end of the bed. I felt sick to my stomach. Maybe after all I put her through, she wanted to get rid of me? No, it wasn’t that. She just wanted what was best for me. About 5 years later, she watched her second daughter follow in my footsteps, and put her on a plane to LA.
I don’t know what it’s like to have 3 children, so I don’t know if it’s any easier to watch one leave when you have another left behind, but I can’t imagine it is. None of us knew what would happen once I got on that plane and left. I’m certain no one imagined I’d be gone for 11 years and return with a degree, a husband and a baby on the way. My sister came back after a year. I loved it over there, she didn’t so much. To each their own.
I do know that my mum has never made me feel guilty for leaving, or for being gone for so long. She’s never tried to push me in any particular direction, never tried to tell me what to do, she’s let me figure it out for myself. Even when I was a terrible teenager, she never really interfered. Whether or not it was naivety, or fear of me running away if confronted/disciplined, or something else, I’m glad that she never pushed, pulled, interfered or forced me to do anything. I always made my own choices, my own mistakes, and learned my own lessons.
A friend of mine has a tattoo on the inside of her wrist that says, “Roots & Wings”. For the quote, “The two greatest gifts parents give their children are roots and wings.”
We like to think we are or should be in control of our kids. Of their choices, their decisions. I think it’s important to let them make their own. It’s our job to teach them HOW to make them, and then to support them through their decisions and be there with love and encouragement if it doesn’t work out, not with “I told you so!”
I didn’t do much listening to my parents when I was a teen. It’s not until we are older, sometimes not even until we are parents ourselves, that we value our parents opinions. If only we could learn from everyone else’s mistakes, wouldn’t that be wonderful? That would take some kind of truly enlightened human being to be that wise, I think. But that’s the beauty (and tragedy) of life. We learn from our mistakes. And we don’t need people to point them out to us, just to support us and love us no matter what. And that’s something my mum has done. And I hope it’s the kind of mum I will be for Nick.
Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday