“Mommy, when can I see nana or papa?”
The words cut me as glass. How I want to respond “because they are not fundamentally good people that pushed me out of their life, all my life, in many different ways … but as a lost puppy I would return only to be tossed out, cast away, shamed, and made to feel that their failures in life were my own and somehow my responsibility to fix”. What I really say to my son is that “you know that saying if you have nothing nice to say than don’t say anything at all … well that’s kind of the decision I made with continuing this relationship I have with them.”
Blank stare. That’s all he does. No words.
So I continue, “mommy doesn’t think they are really bad people to everyone… they never have done anything horrible that you know about or remember … but basically I just don’t enjoy the time we share, or, the way you or I are treated by them. As kids we are forced to respect our parents even if our parents don’t respect us. There’s a difference in not getting everything you want as a child and not getting everything you need. There’s an emotional bond me and you share that I always wanted with my parents… “
I stop because at this point I’m talking about so many raw feelings it hurts and I’m getting emotional and teary eyed.
Dyl looks up at me with squinty eyes and just says “okay, I love you… but are you going to cry?”
I start to laugh… Literally hysterically …then wrap myself around him and just snuggle him. Even when it hurts to think about the pain and hurt I feel from my parents— he makes me serendipitously happy.
You may not have been able to choose the childhood and life you had as a child but you can change the childhood your child will have by breaking those chains and building even stronger ones with your children. Even if you don’t have many things in mind that your parents did right by you that you want you to do in return for your children; there are the things that you know you don’t ever want to do. So use the negative as a guide of what not to do and instead teach them boundaries, teach them responsibility, teach them the power and value of not only an education but the idea to stay hungry for knowledge, teach them what’s right and wrong, and most importantly say “I LOVE YOU” even after the day they say “MOM I KNOW “.