Today I am happy to have a mom who was willing to push me when I needed a shove and to hold me when I needed some love.
I have a confession to make, and I hope you won't think less of me for it. I went through a time in my life, maybe even a few different times, when I thought that my mother's exclusive goal in life was to ruin mine. I have decided that now is the time to let the world know the truth. Well, maybe the whole world won't know; it might be more accurate to say that the one or two people who are not already sick to death of hearing what I think will know the truth, but I digress.
The acts of perceived oppression by my mom, and truth be told, by my dad as well, fell into two categories: acts of omission and acts of commission. In other words, I believed that that my mom intentionally did some things to make me miserable and at the same time intentionally did not do other things that could have improved my quality of life. Please consider the evidence and decide for yourself.
Disclaimer: If you are expecting some trashy talk show tell-all or angry, accusatory confrontation, please stop reading now. You will be sorely disappointed. I have enjoyed a life that has been full of love and blessings, and some would even say that I have turned into a reasonably well adjusted adult.
Exhibit A: School
In the years B.E. (before email) my parents had to field a significant number of telephone calls and notes from teachers who wanted to discuss my work completion habits, or more accurately, my complete lack thereof. I believe said teachers also made some allegations effectively stating that I was of the opinion that school was a purely social event designed solely for my entertainment.
What my mom did not do: make excuses for me or tell the teacher to stop picking on me. Seriously, how unfair! Their expectations that I participate appropriately and waste my time with the silly tasks they assigned were completely lame.
What my mom did do: held me responsible for the choices I was making and enforced appropriate consequences when I did not take responsibility. Yes, she actually thought that it was important for me to realize that I should give my best effort at whatever I do and that I should get my work done before goofing off. (Note: I still struggle with that work before goofing off thing occasionally, and if I am going to be completely honest here, that would be on most occasions.) Can you believe that? Consequences? Harsh stuff, huh?
Exhibit B: Social Life
I was never part of the cool crowd in high school or college. I blame my parents who did not encourage me to do the fun and amazing things that would have made me cool like staying out all night or going on wild Spring Break trips.
What my mom did not do: believe that it was more important to be my friend than to be my mom. That's right, when I did things that crossed the line, she let me know, even when it resulted in me getting angry with her. Even when I became an adult, and I use that term loosely, my mom and dad expected me to live by their rules as long as I lived in their home, and no amount of buddying up to either would change the fact that some things were just not acceptable under their roof. The nerve of her!
What my mom did: set curfews, appropriate boundaries, and (gasp!) rules that I was required to follow. She also expected me to have a job to earn money for college tuition and even to show up on time and for every scheduled shift. Honestly, do you know how many evenings and weekends I would have had free to party and get into mischief if not for that silly job? Even worse, paying my own tuition had a very nasty side effect. I actually started to care about my school work, and I spent much of the precious little party and mischief time was left after my job studying, writing papers or doing homework.
Exhibit C: Oh, never mind...
I realize that I have been blessed with a pretty amazing mom who always tried hard to teach me right from wrong and to show me the right way to live even when I did my best to make her just as miserable as I believed she was making me. I am thankful that she never gave up on me or took the easy way out even when I acted like a little witch or worse.
And now look at the life I am living. I have an amazing husband and two beautiful children of my own, and I am surrounded by friends and family who love and care for me. I, along with my husband, am able to provide a comfortable and stable home for our children and to see that their emotional, physical and developmental needs are met. I am involved in a lively church community where I have many opportunities to see, feel and share God's love. I get to go to work at a job that I love. I am a responsible adult with good credit who owns a home and is able to hold a job. I've had educational opportunities that have allowed me to earn both bachelors and masters degrees. I have never been arrested, tried for a crime, or incarcerated. All because my mom was out to ruin my life all those years ago.
Thanks a lot, Mom! I love you.