Age taught me a lot, purely maturing and realizing helped me understand my parents and why they were how they were in a new depth that years before I’d never even fathomed, but their lessons truly sank in after I became a parent myself and this is my story.
As I was growing up I truly didn’t understand my parents because they were in a situation I didn’t face until I was in my twenties. I observed them and watched, loving to see how people are and wanting to understand them from a young age my parents were my first observations. My strength, my work ethic, my talents, and even my interests were influenced by my parents. One of the earliest memories is of my mother working two jobs, though I didn’t understand why she had to at the time I did understand that it was important to work hard, but work hard in an honest way.
This lesson as a child became a life lesson as I grew up. Working hard in school, then college, and now as a parent myself working hard and working hard as a woman has given my an inner strength. You have to be strong for your children for your children to benefit in a positive way from being a child. Learning to work hard and seeing both my parents do this, but mostly my mother, her being my female role-model.
It didn’t fall short the lesson on the other end of the scale. Though my parents, in their own right, taught me to work hard they were gone a lot doing this and didn’t have time for me as much as I wished they were. With this in mind, though I work hard I strive to give my child the time he needs or wants in a good balance. He understands mommy has to work, but with the work I often do I have a flexible schedule and can give him more of my time. This by no means makes me a better parent than what I had, but it does make me a good mother, I learned to be a good parent from my parents.
When I became a mother and began going through things I began to understand my parents more and could relate to them. I’ve told my parents I understand a lot more now, as a parent, than I did when I was little. The biggest one is the different levels of stress. Before my child, I only had to take care of myself, care about myself, and it was a whole new world when my child came. The lessons I learn, though a lot growing up, I continue to learn them because I have the ability to turn to my parents, specially my mother, and one of the singularity important questions I’ve asked is, ‘how do you deal with the stress?’ My mother in her soft voice always replies, ‘I did it, you can do it, you are strong.’ That strength is important hand-in-hand with patience and with those two things I’ve learned to deal with my stress as a responsible parent.
I can recall many times seeing my father at the table looking at papers and quietly thinking. I never knew what exactly he was thinking as I watched him with my little innocent eyes, but as I grew I learned he was figuring and handing his stress of paying bills. Balancing checks coming in and bills taking that hard earned money right back out. He was being patience and strong mentally to cope. I credit my patience to my father, when it comes to bills and budgeting, but that memory of my father still comes to mind as my husband and I figure out our budgets and paying our bills.
I’ve observed my mother many times quietly waiting during doctor visits, but her eyes told how her mind worked, thinking, but to this day I never can pinpoint for a truth what she was thinking, it could’ve been anything, but that quiet soft nature will never leave me when I think of my mother. The question, when I’m lost, comes to mind, ‘What would Mama do?’ This often comes when it comes to meal planning and budgeting, getting those groceries to stretch and last until the next paycheck or during a waiting period as my child giggles and laughs innocently as he plays.
I could write and write on all the lessons my parents have taught me, how things are continuing to be taught to me, but above all my strength, my work ethics, and talents. Though I’m talented in many ways and can credit my father for this one or my mother for this, without either of them I’d not be the person I am today. I’d not be the good mother that I am today without observing them and learning from them. Parenthood gave me my understanding of them and clarity of situations from my childhood. I consider myself blessed and I thank them from my core, they’re who I am because they’re my first teachers, but most importantly my teachers on the things they never taught me in school. Lessons that are lifetime and priceless.