Based on my observations and experience as a child of parents, I can safely say that parenthood is a huge responsibility. My parents had three kids including me, and for each of us, my father said he had to parent us each differently. For my oldest brother, he was normally very trustworthy, kept to himself, and did good in school. My dad was never truly worried about him. The only issue was whether or not my brother would become to distant. Unfortunately, that has in fact happened. My brother was quick to leave the house, I don’t blame him, but I also don’t like how judgmental he has become towards my parents. I almost get the sense that my brother has completely forgotten where he has come from and the series of sacrifices my parents made for us. At least my brother completed college and became a police officer, but he is quick to say first and foremost that thank god for his wife. There is never anything he states that he is thankful for when it comes to what my parents provided. I have never heard him say, thank you mom and dad for getting me braces and fixing my rabbit teeth. I never hear thank you mom and dad for allowing me to play basketball and volleyball and showing up to most of my games. Instead, when he brought a girl over to our house he said, sorry for our ghetto house. My mom fell the other day and the first thing he does is laugh and looks around to see who saw it, instead of trying to help her up. I am trying not to judge him either because that would be hypocritical, but I can’t help, but feel angry. I am angry because I feel abandoned. I guess this goes back to one of my other posts when I talked about love and how you should have expectations on people. My dad always tried to make me understand that we all love differently and that eventually they will come around. I guess I am still kind of waiting for that day.
As for my second oldest brother, he was always getting into trouble and I always found myself getting into fights with him. He would always pick on me by calling me names or even sometimes pushing me down. As a result of me daddy’s little girl, my dad would protect and stand up for me. My dad would say that he saw a lot of himself in my brother’s personality and that’s why he felt like he had to be strict with him. As of this day, my brother is doing well in the military and has a cute little boy! In fact, I must say that I am extremely proud of where both of my brothers have come thus far in life. The brother who has been helping my parents out the most is the one who received the most punishment. He is also the one who uses what he learned to be thankful for the experiences and the parenting strategy my dad used on him.
Then, there was me. I happen to live at my parent’s house and help where I can, but I have this huge feeling of guilt of when and if I leave home. My parents tried so hard to provide for us in ways that their own parent’s couldn’t. However, in that process of trying to do better than, I felt like my family forgot the importance of celebrating life. Back when we lived simply, we celebrated, and we celebrated with smiles and excitement. For whatever reason getting a bigger house separated us rather than bring us together. Yes, we went to Alaska. Yes, we got go carts. What was missing was the family connection. The unit we once were so proud of. Sometimes, I feel like we lost the glue of what held us together so well; being humble. Appreciating and making do with we had. For example, we have a video of one Christmas when we decorated the whole outside of our RV with lights. Not once have we decorated the outside of our two-story home. It’s the simple things. My dad had built a playground, basketball court and volleyball court. The only thing that was ever used was the basketball court. He also, bought all these games, sauna, and weight set all with the intention of making our garage into a game/weight room. It never happened! You want to know why? We were too busy trying to maintain a house we couldn’t keep up with. Especially after my dad got sick with a bunch of health issues, we kind of lost what it meant to be lighthearted. Instead of enjoying our own house and time together we would go do other peoples houses. Then, my dad would still want to work on our house and there was no time for play and interaction.
Once my brothers moved out, it was super sad and lonely. Essentially, I had no one to annoy and to be honest, talking to my dad was becoming hard because of all the disappointments I acquired. Don’t get me wrong, me and my dad will always be tight, and that relationship will never be compromised. Again, my biggest complaint is feeling like I missed big chunks of time with my family. We stopped taking pictures and home videos. Yes, we would go to my brother’s volleyball and basketball games, but significant memories are far and few.
Acknowledging the reality of people’s feelings was hard for me when I felt so alone. I was always mean and disrespectful with my mom because we just simply clashed. I always felt like she could have done better. I romanced the mother-daughter relationships that I observed around me, instead of allowing my mother to love me the best way she knew how I compared her to others thus creating only more of a gap between us.
When it comes to me and my dad, we clash because he tried so hard to save me from my negative side. Sometimes he felt like I understood his lessons other times I shocked him by some of the stuff I did. I put my dad in situations he never thought he’s having to deal with. To this day he feels that somehow, he failed somewhere with raising us. If there is one thing, I could say he needed to work on, it was learning to allow us to experience the world in its highs and lows. Also learning how not to take our mistakes so personal.
My biggest take away in reading this chapter is that we need to enjoy each other’s company more and stop taking life so seriously. Take time to listen and cherish one another’s presence because it isn’t going to last forever.