Mom wasn’t perfect but did the best she could. She taught me the usual things like please and thank you, showing respect to others and not lying. The last I learned the hard way. Actually, I learned a lot of things the hard way.
We didn’t really get along since childhood and even as an adult she treated me like a child. Until one visit in my early 50s when I put my foot down and wouldn’t allow that any more.
I’ve always wondered what her Mother was like when she was growing up. Probably very different than the Grandma I knew.
I grew up thinking there were way too many rules but now I know that children need boundaries.
As a child I learned not to make waves around the family. My brother was very good at causing trouble and I didn’t want to be like him. So instead I learned from my mostly emotionless family to stuff it. Thank goodness I went to therapy later as a young woman and relearned that emotions are OK, that I have the choice how to react emotionally.
Mom’s emotional reactions always seemed to include anger. I lived like that also for a while and my brother still does. But I decided to move away from anger and embrace happiness, love and a passion for life.
Mom always seemed like an unhappy person and I tried for years to figure out why. Ultimately, I will never know for sure but suspect she never realized her own personal dreams. That’s enough to make anybody unhappy. So in reverse, I learned to follow my dreams.
I didn’t grow up with encouragement to follow my heart but I guess she didn’t really know how to do that herself. I was born in the 50s, when little girls were still expected to just get married and raise children. And although I did eventually marry and become a step-Mom that wasn’t my dream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I had those opportunities to learn and love and share. Yet I’m sure I’d be a better Mom in my 50s than I was in my 20s. Not that I want to start over.
Only in the last of Mom’s life did I understand that she considered herself a slave. And maybe by her earlier actions I learned not to be a slave to anyone, including myself.
I may have learned more from my Mom since she passed away simply by reflecting. Most of the time I didn’t like my mother for the seemingly mean and angry personality she demonstrated. But I love her, and I thank her every day for the lessons she taught me.
June Francis Loomis Olmsted 1927 – 2011
Happy Mother’s Day!