I’ve been thinking about parents lately. It’s weird to be away from their protective custody and their influence for an extended period of time. I’m getting used to it, and liking the feeling of really coming into my adult life. But it’s still weird, and the distance is still a bit disconcerting at times. (Never mind that I now have two sets of parents I’m removed from.)
And it’s nice that we’re in a location where they can still come a’ runnin’ if we really need them.
I went through a large portion of my teens and early twenties harboring intense, palpable resentment towards my parents. Then I got married, moved out, and a lot (LOT) of the reasons for their “heinous mistakes” became very clear to me.
It’s freakin’ hard to be a grown up.
I mean, it’s freakin’ hard to grow up, too. But I somehow thought that all that would clear up and it would be smooth sailing once I hit mid-twenties.
I can blame my grandfather for this. From before I was able to speak he was telling me, “it’ll all go away before you get married.” For about 25 years, every time any one of the 20+ cousins was injured/crying/ticked off, we would hear that phrase. Uncles took it up as a rallying cry. Moms used it sometimes when no one was listening.
So I naturally assumed that my wedding day was the first day of Eden, with trials and tribulations left behind, never to be seen or heard from again. A distant memory. It didn’t help that the first few months of our marriage were actually pretty close to this utopian dream.
I know all you old heads are laughing your butts off right now. Enjoy.
Anyways, it turned out that adulthood had it’s own terrific series of challenges, one after another. Some are harder than others, some are deeper than others, but I’ll repeat my original point:
It’s freaking HARD to be a grown up.
One positive is that I realized somewhere along the way that my parents are not actually the heinous offenders I once imagined they were. From what I’ve seen out here in Mexas, surrounded by young parents, there’s a weird equation that seems to begin once you have kids. For as hard as it is to be a grown up, it’s that much harder to be a parent. Parenting is like grown up squared.
P = Gu²
Despite all this, my parents are, in fact, together, smart, and very concerned with how my life turns out, still. They’ve managed to survive the exponential growth of difficulty and come out with some real gems (that would be me and my siblings). This revelation has changed some things for me. Whatever they’ve got for me comes from hard work, toil, a lot of pain. My success and happiness are their only actual reward for it all.
So it’s easier to hear what they have to say these days, even when I don’t like it. Feels more like getting advice or opinions from a trusted friend or mentor. It’s easier to accept help from them when I need it; feels like experience from a seasoned professional. And it’s easier to see that, while they are imperfect human beings, they are incredibly good, wise people.
Let’s face it. Despite their human imperfections, they have decades of experience under their belt. Which I do not. Why wouldn’t I want them on call?
And just think. There’s just something about raising their kids that makes parents strive for perfection like nothing else. Thus, they will never be as close to “perfect” as they are when they’re taking care of their kids.