They watched you grow from a mere foot long human to a full sized one, and along the way, tried to guide you in the direction they thought best. Perhaps they guided too much, perhaps not enough. But I’ve been thinking about their role in our everyday life a lot lately, and it’s infinitely more than just being the nagging figures they are so often portrayed as.
When you pop out, they are not given a book of instructions on how to raise you- they are simply given your fragile body and sent out, the only rules being they must make sure you get certain vaccinations. So there they are, alone in the world with the biggest responsibility in it, and all they can really do is their best. Of course, this in no way excuses their biggest mistakes, or pardons those things they’ve done that have irrevocably changed your life, but it in large part forgives their actions and moments in which it seemed they had no idea what they were doing, because they really didn’t.
Perhaps you can finally forgive them for giving you such a hard time on your grades, while going easier on your siblings. Perhaps you can accept that they didn’t realize how awful it felt having to say no to plans with friends at a young age because of homework or sport. Maybe it’s because sometimes, we take their sacrifices for granted and perhaps we shouldn’t. Put yourself in their shoes; getting up each morning to cook and clean for our wellbeing, putting us in the best possible school districts, sometimes over their means. Then slaving the day away at work only to come back home and fall back into the tireless routine of chores. And this never ending cycle simply goes to benefit us, their kids.
I have found that many parents are feared by their kids because of the way their authoritarian dictatorship determines all their decisions. I have seen how their children dread the thought of going back home because there, their individuality is destroyed and replaced by fear. Those parents that believe that it is better to be feared than loved, those are the ones who lose their kids fastest, those who never really get to know who they raised. Relationships of this caliber are not only toxic, but induce anger and often shame in the kids as they don’t even have the most basic of people to turn to when the going gets tough.
As I begin to enter my adult years, I have found that the most important relationships I have made in my life are with my parents. Although often strict, they both contributed to who I am today and as I changed, they changed with me. They took the time to understand and help, envisioning a better future for me each time they held out a helping hand. To be able to tell them about my personal life and discuss my future and ask for advice in an environment with little judgement and lots of comfort and familiarity is an experience beyond words, one that I am forever thankful for and thoroughly convinced everyone needs.
Relationships with parents are fragile things as they must act as a kind of authoritarian but also as a confidant, all while living in a completely different generation, having grown up in a vastly different environment than the one they were raised in. Yet they are relationships meant to be treasured and enjoyed, their fruitfulness and importance to be never underestimated.