This I Believe

Melissa - Sacramento, California
Entered on December 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe parents are human too.

My mother is amazing and my childhood was wonderful, not perfect. I am an only child and throughout my childhood my mother was my mother, father, sister, brother, teacher, coach, troop leader, and play date. Always understanding, patient and fair. When I was very young, she started a “good night chant” that she and I shared after she tucked me in. “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bight, love you and see you in the morning.” I know now that this chant was not unlike many others said to children everywhere, but back then it was only ours and it was special. It made to feel loved, appreciated and safe.

When I was eleven my mother found her self back in the dating world. As I look back, I imagine that she must have been absolutely terrified at the time. She went on a few dates, and then she met “the one”. I clearly remember her first actual dinner date with him. They had always gone to lunch or an early movie in the past.

I sat on her bed and watched her get ready. I witnessed an excitement and nervousness in her that was new to me. I was happy for her as she left, while I reassured her that I would be fine without a sitter. But that night as I tucked myself in, there was no one to say the “good night chant” to. That’s when it hit me: I had started to think that I was growing up and didn’t need her constant attention anymore. I was wrong. At that moment, lying in bed, I needed my mom more than anything; and that’s when I realized that my life was going to be very different from then on.

My life, and my relationship with my mother, did become very different and the scenes that played for years to come left gashes in a once impervious relationship. Eventually I decided to move out at the tender age of sixteen, and I realized later that I wasn’t moving out so much as I was running away. Running away from the power struggles, the arguing, the hurt and the pain. It wasn’t until I moved out that I discovered a new phrase, “mid-life crisis”. Suddenly everything that had happened between us made sense. My mother is human, she always did the very best she knew how in every situation, and her goal in life was not to “ruin my life” but to see me happy and enjoy some happiness for herself as well. We worked through it and over time I was able to forgive her for the hurtful words and apologize for mine.

I believe that parents are human. It is not worth the energy of holding onto resentment born from their actions or words that caused you pain. Let go of the anger, forgive them, forgive yourself and enjoy the rest of their life and yours.