Last time I got together with my parents, we were reminiscing and my Dad said,
"Parents do the best they can."
Parents miss the mark in some areas. I would venture to guess that most adults have moments from their childhood where they wish their parents would have done something differently. You know, because maybe it would have some positive life-altering effect.
Hell, I've got plenty of times where I wish I would have chosen another option--I'm not even 30.
Almost a decade ago, I chose to let go and forgive my parents' shortcomings. They are human after all.
I've actively switched my focus to what my parents did right. Following are just some of the reasons my parents have been wonderful:
1. They made sure we had food. My mom didn't breastfeed me but she did feed me. My parents always put food on the table. In fact, I had three square meals until I was 18. Even if some of those meals happened to be McDonald's, I never went hungry.
2. My parents protected me from sexual abuse. 1 in 5 girls is a victim of sexual abuse as a child. I wasn't part of that 20%.
3. They both have a wonderful sense of humor. I'm thankful to have grown up in a house full of laughter. Yes, there was screaming and crying at times but, mostly laughter. If we can't laugh at ourselves we are all screwed.
4. My parents are affectionate. Towards each other and towards us kids. Thanks to them I learned how to give a real hug--none of that side hug business. My parents told me they loved me every day.
5. They are very supportive. Even if they supported some of my poorer decisions, I eventually made responsible ones. They haven't disowned me yet. My mom listened to me and I felt like I could talk to her.
6. My parents were strict. I'm the first born so they were pretty rigid when it came to rules. I didn't have friends that were a bad influence, at least not for long. I couldn't stay out late, because according to them nothing good happens after 10 p.m. Let's get real, I didn't even ask my parents to go to certain events. Ha, and forget going out two nights in a row--we were having mandatory family time. I wasn't put into adult situations, until I was an adult. I'm thankful for that.
7. We had family dinner every night. We made this time a priority. We sat down together and talked about our day. Most of the time my mom made dinner, she also let me help with the cooking. I've kept this tradition going with my own family.
8. They provided a stable home environment. My parents aren't divorced. I grew up in a decent home in a safe neighborhood. I went to a good school and my parents picked me up--most years one of them was home in the afternoon. They helped me with my homework, watched my soccer games, and took me to church. My mom tucked me in at night. They provided a safe predictability to my childhood.
9. My parents didn't over-schedule me. There really wasn't much of schedule at all. I had the freedom to do whatever with my free-time. We weren't rushing all over the place, I enjoyed a slow-paced life as a child, and I spent a lot of time outside. I think that freedom has made me a more creative and contented person.
10. My parents grew up with me. They were married at 18 and had me at 19. They handled the roaring 20's, a new marriage, and a child all at the same time. They did a damn good job if you ask me.
If your parents are still living and you have unspoken grievances you should try to forgive them. If you're reading this it means your parents or parental figures sustained you for a good portion of your life. If you happen to be good looking, you can thank your parents for that. If you learned what not to do because of your parents, you can thank them for that. If you are better off than your parents, you are better off because of them.
What did your parents get right?