My parents were pretty mean. Seriously. Brown bag lunches with a smooshed PB&J and fifteen cents taped in the bottom for milk was my cold lunch. Thanks to my two older sisters, my life was styled in decade-old hand-me-downs. Things that weren't hand-me-downs were sewn by my mother. And twenty years ago, that wasn't cool like it is now (where were you, Pinterest?). I had to do chores to earn my allowance. And my allowance was $2 every other week. Not the $10 a week some kids made - without doing chores. I wasn't allowed to own/drive a car in high school. That encouraged sluffing and bad behavior. I was responsible for my own college. We could only afford one extracurricular activity. So I would have to choose between going to a state journalism competition or travel to Canada for advanced choir (I chose journalism).
My parents were mean. My life was hard. Miserable, even.
My parents were the worst.
My mean parents holding 2 month old Joci in June 2009.
A blog post called Your Children Want YOU! on thepowerofmoms.com has been passed around Facebook and Pinterest lately. Read it. It will make your spirit soar.
How true it is. A couple of nights ago, I had a cooking question. I called up my mom to ask her. She gave me the best answer she could, but she was uncertain. She called herself a bad mom. I told her that was hogwash. I knew where to turn for answers. If I truly wanted premium expert cooking advice, I would be on the phone with Martha Stewart or that Hell's Kitchen guy. But I wanted to hear what my mom would say. Because I thought it would the best, most professional advice ever? Eh...maybe not. I knew it would be worthy, but there are people more "expert" than she is. I wanted her. I wanted my mom. Despite her shortcomings, her imperfections, and all those flaws and silly beliefs that made my childhood so intolerable, I just wanted my mom.
I wanted the woman who sang "Puff the Magic Dragon" to me at night. Who rocked me. Who stayed up so late many nights to sew me a perfect dress for the next day. Who sometimes kept me home from school just to be her baby again.
And the same goes for my father. The warmth of his rough, worn hands. The smell of his cologne. The scruffy feel of his face in the morning before shaving.
My parents might not be perfect. No one is. But they are *mine.* And that's what I love most about them. Despite all the misery they put me through, I look back on it now and think they did everything perfectly and I try to do the same. Justin and I often argue about whether or not our teens will have their own car. My answer is no. I didn't have one and I did just fine. So will our kids. Justin thinks I am mean. :) Many of the torturous things I surivived in childhood have given me character and resilience. Those things are valuable.
My parents--my very, very good parents--knew that. And now, I thank them for that.
And I sincerely hope my kids have just a disappointing childhood as I had.