The people who made me who I am

As I was walking into work today I started thinking about my mom and dad. First of all, I have amazing parents. My mom is the kind of mom I strive to be to my young children. I feel very lucky to have been raised in such a loving and caring way and look back fondly at the photos of Matt and I, half naked and covered in paint swipes as we sat outside somewhere with paint brushes and large cardboard boxes “decorated” with our own creative vision. My dad always treated us with respect and as though we were equals. Don’t get me wrong, he was DAD when he needed to be, but he chose to use that power for good, rather than evil.

I have a couple of memories that freeze in my mind at certain times and for me, they paint who my parents are. There is a photo of my mother, from before I was even born, with her long hair and shy smile. I see the young woman my dad originally fell in love with in that photo and while I think I only saw it once, it’s stays with me. Another shows us with heads close together as I point at something in the distance and my mom is watching me discover my world, this amazing look on her face of love and pride. I see her on our couch, laying down for “just ten minutes” after a long day at work, followed by school, followed by coming home to teens who didn’t appreciate her. My mom got her Masters while working full time and raising us alone and I know it was HARD.

My favorite image of my dad is from those days following my parents divorce when he would pick us up for Wednesday night dinner. He used to take us to Round table Pizza and one night “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones came over the juke box. I see him wagging his head back and forth and pounding his fists on the table, singing the words. I should have been embarrassed (I was a teen, after all) but instead I saw him as this guy… not my dad, but a guy who loved the Stones and loved pizza and well, loved his kids. Sometimes I see him as the man I once walked in on as he cried in his bedroom, and am still amazed that he let me sit and talk with him rather than chasing me out of the room because of some inflated sense of pride.

My parents are good people and I love them deeply, despite any flaws they think they have or I think they have. I make fun of them both, here and elsewhere and sometimes choose to vent my frustrations at them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect them. I know how CRAZY some families are and feel very lucky that at my core, I have two parents that love me madly. I like who they are and who they have helped me become.

From my mom I get the unique talent of reading into what people say. We both do it and neither one of us likes to admit it. She says, “Oh my” and I read into it a whole speech about indecency and decide I know what she thinks of me. I say how I feel about something and she decides that I am making a direct comment against her. Why do we do this to those we love? I don’t know.

Of all the posts I have written, I just hope my mom reads this one. Because she thinks I don’t want her at the birth of our next child. She thinks I’m banning her because I’ve asked her to be with my daughter. She doesn’t realize how deeply I need to know that Lily is cared for and how passionately I feel that she is the only one who I can trust for such a task. I thought I explained it to her, but I don’t think she believes me. I think she believes I made all that up to make her feel useful. I need her to know she is wrong. I need her to know that I need her. I just need her in a different way than I needed her when Lily was born and I am sad that she thinks this need is less. It’s time for us to actually talk to each other rather than make little comments and then decide what the other is saying. Now I just have to figure out how to do it without turning into an obnoxious teenager.