Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Life's lessons...the hard way

My sister mentioned that her priest said that there is a reason that windshields are bigger than rear view mirrors. Looking back won’t move you forward. I suggested that this is really what I mean when I say, “Get over it. Move on.” Sheryl suggested that my wording might be a bit harsh which my daughter confirmed the other day when I was visiting her. I did notice though, that while at her home, she twice told her daughter to, “Get over it,” when she was whining after falling.

Sometimes what we intend doesn’t always get heard;  nor, does it get stated the way we really mean it. I am a product of my parents and they were a tad harsh. My kids are prone to harshness also…but they don’t see that in themselves sometimes; just like I prefer to not see that in myself. I know my intentions are good.

Teresa is a loving woman who truly cares deeply about her family and friends. And despite being told recently that I wasn’t there for my daughters when they were young, I have tried to show them always that they are loved. I have spent some time thinking about the girls’ childhood.
I was gone a lot. I got an education after they were toddlers and then, after getting the B.S., the M.S. and working on my Ph.D, I began working a full time job. I raised them alone and although married twice, and divorced twice my reasoning for not being with those two men proved to be good ones. What that meant was that I had to often work two or three jobs while attaining that education…an education that ultimately provided us with a good solid lifestyle and which, now, allows me to sit back and help my kids and grandkids. More importantly, that past allows me to share what I love most with them...travel, culture, life and we have been able to make some remarkable memories together.

Helping the kids and grandkids means helping them to see the world in a way that parents often can’t give because they are building their lives, working hard and not able to afford the bells and whistles we would like for ourselves and our kids. That might be tickets to costly theatre productions, trips to foreign countries, loans or whatever extras that could make life a tad richer. Not things we need necessarily, but things we might like to share with those we love. My kids give their kids what they need...no question about that.

We, as older adults, parents and grandparents are often in a situation where we can give of our time, our energy, our experience and our money. Sadly, sometimes that is looked at as some sort of bribery…you are giving us x, y and z so you can say and do what you want. I was recently criticized for my “Get over it” comment and serious assumptions about what I meant by what I was trying to say resulted in a regurgitation of finger pointing and criticism of what I wasn’t and hadn’t been, rather than what I am and try to be. Sad.

We teach lessons every day and teaching one’s kids to make assumptions, point fingers and wallow in the past are possibly not the strongest lessons we want our children to learn. Teaching one's children to banish family members rather than try to work things out...another bad lesson. One life's lesson I learned early on and which applies today...be good to those you love and care about for they may not be with you tomorrow. 
I enjoy teaching very much. But often, what is taught is not learned and that, my friends, is a very sad thing indeed.

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