Sunday, December 7, 2008

"How do you strive to be similar to, or different from, your parents? "


As previously decided, this is a writing prompt borrowed from One Minute Writer and elaborated upon here, in my own blog-dom. Thanks Kristen for the idea....

Here it is...

"How do you strive to be similar to, or different from, your parents? "


My parents are both gone on to the great beyond, so I am safe to say that they wouldn't object to my thoughts on this. Besides, it's nothing they didn't already know, I am beginning to suspect they knew alot more than I thought that they knew. I know this because I have entered the phase of my life where things are more illuminated and I can see a little more clearly. In other words, I am the age now, that my mother was when I was approaching my teen years. Actually, I think it would delight them to know that I would like to get some advice and encouragement.
Needless to say, everyday I wish I could call my mom, who as a teenager, I fought with every day. I would like to ask her "how the hell did you put up with me?", as I struggle with my own issues in childrearing.

As a child growing up in the 60's and 70's, I disagreed with everything they stood for, authority, old age, rules, oppression, responsibility and order. I especially detested their views on race, relationships, and curfew. We yelled and screamed and I whined and threw fits and manipulated and was defiant. I was, in effect, a royal pain in the ass.

Of course they were hopeless squares, old fashioned to the bone. They had never had feelings like i was having, never knew the angst and anger I felt. Never felt rage and the feeling that they could change the world and bring peace and tranquility to all if they would just smoke some weed. They were born old, lived in a shell and were trying to keep ME in a shell with them, and dammit, I was bustin' OUT. I knew it all, didn't need their damn help or advice and you don't own me and Im leaving.

I distinctly recall my mother, hissing at me thru clenched teeth, "I hope you have one just like you."

Well, I had three. You know that old saying, something about "whatever you do in this world, you will reap back thrice" ? It is true.
In my own version of living pergatory, each one is distinctly different from me, yet so like me in the defiance and manipulative ideas, that I can hardly keep up. I used to like to say things like, "you can't come up with anything new to shock me because I invented it" but I don't say that anymore.
Now, I find myself saying things my mother said just about everytime I open my mouth. It's like she's some sort of ethereal puppeteer and she has the strings that control me. I have to make myself stop snooping around, and to stop using the weird phrases that made her so unique.

So in an effort to be unlike her, I have in fact BECOME her.

It's mind boggling....

3 comments:

Edumentor said...

Oh boy, I LOVE this post! What a great question, and such a great response on your part! Both my parents are gone from this side, too, and I miss them a great deal. I had that same rebellious streak you did, and I know it drove my mom crazy with worry. I try to be like my mom in encouraging creativity and like my dad in his open lovingness for each of us. I'm different, though, from my parents because I have a much more open communication with my kids on what is going on in their lives. I listen but try not to judge -- and so they talk much more than I ever did.

GardeningJo said...

Ah... The more I watch my Mom now and listen to her, the more I am making the effort to not be like her now, nor end up like her. I envisioned her happy and living an active life in her retirement. She's deeply depressed, alone, reclusive, nasty, bitter and complaining. Her life is what she makes of it and she makes nothing of it. It hurts me like hell and I've tried to help her but she wants nothing of that. I've reconciled that aspect of our relationship (like my Dad who was an acolholic who wouldn't admit there was anything wrong) - you can't help someone who doesn't want to be. What isn't so easy is to not let her get to me (as I'm often her verbal punching bag since she really has no one else to take her crap out on). I am like her in ways that aren't good for me, my marriage or our furture children but I am working on those apsects of myself. If there are other ways I am like her, I can't think of them now.

dragyonfly said...

I think that something that my mom and dad used to say sums it up for me, and that is "you kids don't come with an instruction manual". Plus, I have come to realize that they were human after all, warts and all. My dad was not really big on talking and so it was kind of a big deal when he did have something to say. Of course, that was years after he stopped drinking and being obnoxious. He was an introvert more than we ever knew, and I know now he was human, and not the Icon i made him out to be.
Jo, your relationship with your mom is what it is. As you know, you can't change her, but you can change your part of it. We tolerate so much from those that we love. I have discovered a deep well of patience that I didn't know existed. You probably have it too. I have a family member who is depressed and malcontent and it is painful to watch. Nothing I say is helpful. It is not my parent but someone I am very close to. Good luck and use that energy on yourself.You are a good person and an excellent blogger....