To Have Been A Different Parent Would Mean To Have Different Kids
What I was going to write as a short story and why I changed my mind.
I have been thinking about the past, some might call it rumination, brooding about how better I could have been as a parent. A LOT. It comes to mind while watching my kids be the loving engaged parents I never was. I reflect on it as I watch them navigate the challenges in life, the disappointments and the grace. I see the opportunities they take and the opportunities they offer – I see this with something akin to envy, wanting to have done these things as a young mom, as a young person.
I have regrets, I have a longing to have been a parent to my kids the way I see them behave with children now. PLayful, healthy boundaries clearly explained, open to the unchartered, less controlling and more control- both. I wish I had had the discipline in my own journey to not have had my frailties leak onto them. My struggles were theirs, my shortcoming impacted them, my deficiencies were the deficiencies felt by the family. I want to have felt like a competent engaged parent and now not feel the loss of this imagined experience. I was so consumed by my own reality, resulting in having been distant while so embroiled in my disease and in my post recovery difficulties.
I was going to write a short story to relive and remake my past, to be present in my kids’ lives, to help them with their projects and homework, to insist that they be more involved in school, to encourage them to take challenges and to spend more on them and their whims and less on being practical. More dinners in the park and fewer days cleaning house. More on helping them in daily practices of tidiness and less yelling and cyclical attention to details. I want to have been more consistent; both day to day and with the promises and practicalities of living. Rather than yelling about school work one day and then being distracted or too self-absorbed the next- no common reliable thread. No wonder they left home young.
But as I imagine rewriting the story I realize that they would have ended up differently: that they would have different characters or expressions of their character. They might have gone different directions than that they have chosen.
While I do wish the one were not so responsible and that the other did not choose such a difficult life THERE IS NOTHING I WOULD CHANGE about them. I LOVE THEM AS THEY ARE. I do not wish any of them to have a different heart, a different mind, a different outlook.
This wanting to have been a different parent is only about me, and not about them. I am afraid if I wrote a different story, they would be different people. While there a strong lure to write that “story” it comes from a high degree of selfishness. I think I will let it be; let that imaginary story remain unwritten. Becuase to me, the end of the story is not my life, but theirs to expand and write as they wish.
I love them as they are.
Kyczy Hawk E-Ryt 500
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