I am blessed to be soon celebrating my birthday, the milestone that it is, and still be able to pick up the phone and call my parents. Some aren't that lucky - I recognize that. My parents, both in good health,
decided to have children in their early twenties and now some 49 years later I have them (and they have me).
Reflecting upon the changes that our parent-child relationship has taken over the years, I can honestly say our time now is my favorite.
As I am easing into middle age with a family of my own, the relationship with my Mom and Dad is relaxed, comfortable, there is a camaraderie that exists between us.
No longer concerned about the intricacies of my daily
life - how I am doing in school, where will I go to college, (what?! do you want to major in?!), when will I "settle" down - we meet as adults on a (somewhat) level playing field.
It took me a moment to get here...through
teenage angst, my "know it all" attitude, my searching for myself, my purpose, my connection to a Higher Power.
I am a firm believer that we choose our parents. My teenage self would rally against that idea, but now, a little wiser,
I am glad I made that choice as I was drawing up this lifetime's path.
A few years ago, as I was being ordained a Spiritualist Minister (having been raised Catholic) my Dad asked me, "How did you get here?". My response was you...you
got me here. Along the way, by accident or design, I was taught to question, to challenge, but also to be flexible, to be understanding, and above all be kind.
My parents gave me that. That gave me values as well as roots...a sense
of belonging...my brothers and I were blessed with two hard working parents that did their absolute best to raise us.
This is what I would like to share with you, they, my Mother and Father, did their best and your parents, caregivers, and
extended family did their best...even if you feel that they didn't...they did.
Sometimes a bitter pill to swallow, but no less true, we got the parents, siblings, family that we needed to in this lifetime for our own
What we make of those relationships, those childhood experiences, is up to us.
I do not have rose colored glasses on as I look back upon my younger years - what I do have is understanding, compassion, and an
adult mind that allows me to acknowledge that I don't have all the answers with my own children...and neither did my Mom or Dad with theirs. No one does.
All of my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. After the
age of 18 it was up to me to decide what type of human being to be. Over the age referred to as "mature", blaming another for your actions/reactions is truly immature behavior.
Even if we take out of the equation everything spiritual in nature,
in this life we need to have peace.
Peace does not have to come at a heavy price - it only requires understanding. Understanding that everyone, whether they be parents, family, friends, coworkers - are doing the best that know how to
in this moment, at this time.
Carl Jung states "I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become"
No, I did not grow up with the proverbial "perfect" family. We all have our quirks
- my family has its share - but now, as an adult, as a wife, a mother, I am able to view my family with the understanding and acceptance that comes with growth and experience.
I encourage you to reflect upon your own experiences - maybe they
weren't idyllic - maybe there were bumps along the way...you know, sometimes the greatest lessons we learn are not from people that show us how to be, but rather how not to be.
Know this...we need not be broken
by another's bad acts or our perception of bad behavior. Truly that is too much baggage to carry around for a lifetime. Take those lessons, those experiences and express gratitude, maybe offer forgiveness, but go forth knowing that today is shaped
by your choices.
For my parents, my brothers, my family - I am eternally grateful that, although not always perfect, we have had this lifetime together...you all have taught me so very much.