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Many of my friends and acquaintances’ parents are going through transitions, parents needing to move in with family or nursing homes, and/or are passing away. I know it can be hard for everyone and the fact I see it again with my friends may be what struck me to write this.

My parents passed away within the last 8 years, my mother died 8 years ago and
my father 5 1/2 years ago. They had me when they were “older” if you will, as part of a “third” brood, first blood brood for my mother, and they ran/owned a successful, then struggling, business for decades. As a child/adolescent, the expectation was I would work in the family business and my older siblings have memories of me sitting on a counter and given a duty when I was less than 5 years old.  Partially due to the work expectation I was not allowed to participate in many things that other people my age were doing.  

I reflect now and then on how I saw things as a child, adolescent, young adult in college and now. I see things so differently now. Back then, I felt persecuted and cheated because I had parents that only knew work and expected me to work after school and on the weekends.  

They have been on my mind now and then, more so lately within the last year and again have been entering my dreams. I recall a dream a had a few weeks ago where my mother said to me point blank, “I don’t like you.” I woke up thinking how odd and laughed about it because I know that was not true and something she would never say, to anyone.  

They were quite different from each other. My father was an ex-professional wrestler with a 3rd grade education, and my mother, who left school at 15 to help care for her siblings, was petite, quiet and although not nearly as physically strong or hot tempered as my father, she won in the emotional strength department.  

What I learned from them directly :
1. An incredible work ethic
2. Responsibility and accountability
3. Knowledge that it’s acceptable to take a nap or just “close your eyes” for a few minutes during the day

What I learned from them indirectly :
1. Appreciation for what you have materially and emotionally
2. Empathy for others

We all do our best everyday. Let's all appreciate  each other for it. My parents knew I loved them but I don't know that they believed or even knew I appreciated them and all they had provided for me as a child - a roof over my head, lack of hunger, parochial school, transportation, work experience, a chance at a better life. I may have "missed out" on emotional support and social skill building activities but these are things that I was able to build upon as an adult. They gave me what parents give their children - a foundation. I am thankful for that and although I may not have been back then, it doesn't matter because I can do nothing to change it. I was who I was then and responded the way I knew how. I've grown emotionally and spiritually and what matters now is what I do today with what my parents gave to me.  

When they were older and “dying” it was easy to lose patience and/or feel inconvenienced. Throw in sibling dynamics and that’s a whole different scenario. This is what I see now in those I know who are dealing with these changes with their parents.

If your parents are alive, let them know you appreciate them and do it in person if possible. Tell them what you learned from them. I’m sure it will bring a smile to them and both of you will feel great.

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Apr 3, 2010
    • Thank you for that. I forget to tell my mom how much I love and appreciate her. She’s been a rock in our family since my dad died. And she was never the “popular” one. She was harsher with discipline that my dad - he was just a big loving warm fuzzy in our household.

      I talk with my mom once a week on the phone and I’m going to remember this story next week. Thank you!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cristina Corral wrote Apr 3, 2010
    • I will! Thanks for this important reminder!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Veggie wrote Apr 4, 2010
    • Thanks for sharing this with us.  I really enjoyed reading it.

      My parents have been long gone.  Mom in ‘64 through an accident in our back yard pool and Dad a heart attack in ‘91.

      Never knew my mom.  Thank goodness for pictures or wouldn’t have known what she looked like.

      Dad and I were distant.  I had many resentments toward him for several reasons which at his viewing, which was unexpectedly overwhelming for me, I made amends for my childish ‘wish it were different’ & ‘why?’ attitude between my maker, him and myself as I said my final good-byes.

      All in all I agree, our parents and we as parents, do our best with what we have.

      Man, you have brought up some emotions this morning estatic


      Happy Easter!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wookiemom09 wrote Apr 4, 2010
    • Thank you for the reminder.  both of my parents have passed and I learned to see the good they did in my life. I had realize they were people too and made many mistakes outside of our relationship that formed who they are and me as well.  I have tried to learn and pass on my knowledge to my son.  Somedays he sees it and somedays he chooses to ignore it.  Now he will grow in his life lessons and I see myself in his actions.

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