One day when my boys were around 4 and 5 years old, I happened into a casual conversation with my mum about parenting.
My mum casually asked me what I thought of being a father and whether it was as I imagined it would be.
I shared with her how parenting taught me a lot of things:
A) it constantly reveals to me the inconsistency in my own behavior
B) it constantly makes me aware of what I say, how I say it and why I say it
C) Many of my selfish thoughts and desires have slipped away because I am constantly focused on someone other than myself…and that feels good
D) Many of the things I thought would drive me crazy (e.g. noise and mess) really don’t bother me at all
E) I was surprised at how much a child’s inability to show gratitude at a young age unnerved me
At that time my mother expressed of all my accomplishments and of all my achievements, seeing me as an active, hands on father was the one thing she was most proud of.
I took that to heart for anyone knowing my mother would agree…that was a huge statement for her to make.
My mother died in January of this year.
What I miss most is the weekly conversations we would have where we talked about the boys and the phases and behaviors they would exhibit and how I really felt about them. During those conversations I could sort out how I responded verses how I felt and she would give me her parenting advice as a grandmother…which of course was nothing like how she behaved as a mother.
I haven’t been able to share those thoughts with her since January…and each time I reflect and think about wanting to call her I am struck with how private and intimate those “casual” conversations really well.
I miss them. I miss the ear she so willing lent and I miss her laughter about the topics. The laughter that always assured me this was part of the process and that in the end, all would be just fine.
Those talks were a huge part of my week…and I’ve yet to fill the space they filled…and the freedom they provided.
I hope she’s watching and can read my mind! LOL