Yes, as those in the mental health field say, I am still processing Mom’s passing – it may take a while and I’m sure that there will be some rough edges that will catch me when I’m least likely to think so – it will continue to hurt until it subsides into a low-level throb. But I can still be thankful that she was MY mom and for all the times this former teenager and full-of-himself early-twenties something said and did things, I realized that in the end, she knew “he’ll come to his senses (mostly)” (yeah, she still had doubts – but what parent doesn’t that truly wants their offspring to be the best they can be and wants to correct what they see wrong?).
But while I say goodbye on one hand, I am still having the opportunity of my life in becoming re-acquainted with the Youngest. My time with him as a “full-of-himself” teenager and early-twenties was no fun at all and there were a lot of times I wondered what the heck I was raising. These last two weeks, however, have revealed a more laid-back son, more willing to smile and showing the signs of our relationship moving from Dad-the-Father to Dad-the-Advisor. Now out of the Army, he has a bewildering number of options as he deals with some after effects of his hitch and service. Before it used to be “leave me alone – *I* can figure it out!”; now it is more often than not ‘Hey Dad, what do you think about…”. It was also fun as he kept TMEW and I in stitches with some stories from his service during our Thanksgiving dinner. Dunno why they came out today, but mirthful doesn’t even come close.
It’s unreal how smart I got in 4 years. It’s also humbling that some things that I wanted to pass on (“You will always be a parent.”) actually seem to have taken root. For that, I am thankful to God for giving me the patience in dealing with is “idiosyncrasies”. The reality check, The reality check, for those that still have young or middling kids at home…
…is this one:it is scary to now realize how closely my kids watched me as they grew up – what I said, what I did, how I acted, and how I treated others. They now tell me “Dad, you always said to…” and “Dad, remember when you did this for…” why I ask them “Why did you do it that way?”. And sometimes, they don’t even say a thing – but I can see the lessons that have been passed on from my Mom through me to them. Teachings. They matter.
Traditions. They matter, no matter what folks say is the “new normal”. And the family is the best way to pass down what works. No, not everyone has the best family situations (for me, my parents split when I was young and my Dad passed away before I hit Jr. High) but all in all, it works. And that, again, is the reality check for me this Thanksgiving. Life matters, family matters – and the way you live your life in front of your family (especially when you think they aren’t paying attention) matters even more. Life teaches lessons if you only would pay attention.
Of course, ordering the Jumbo Turkey plate at Hart’s Turkey Farm for Thanksgiving dinner thinking that you can consume the whole thing will teach you another lesson as well…
I realize that this is coming up late in the day, but I hope that for all you readers, that you’ve had the same opportunity today that I have – even if it is with someone that you see every day.