For those of you, readers, who do not celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, will you be travelling to see family this weekend? It amazes me how complicated parent-child relationships are and how they magnify this time of year.
Without going into specifics, the father of my girls is visiting for the first time in five years. But only the youngest is allowing him to have a chance at a relationship. The oldest is working on bitterness and fear. While its ripping her heart out, she hopes his sobriety is for real.
I am hoping to spend some time with my dad before the new year as well. Another strained relationship on the mend and I’m afraid I’ll lose him too quickly. However, I say we could live next door to each other and still only talk twice a year.
I began to think. Dangerous, I know. How does one honor their parents? The antiquated notion becomes very real and pressing in situations like these. Often we never understand the choices, behaviors or even motives behind their parenting. My dad was consumed with identity, I think. He always did what he thought was best or would appear appropriate. My ex, while narcissistic, lost himself to grief and physical pain and it almost cost his life.
When all is said and done, when the damage is too great, are we still called to honor them?
Yes. I believe it is even more imperative. Again not a professional, not belittling anyone’s atrocities or pain, nor am I calling for a giant hug-fest around the dinner table. I am sure my thoughts on this are a result of a 12 Step Program. I think the counseling has wore down the calluses. Then, I also believe, its partly because its how we are wired. I could recite traditions from the major religions, but it goes deeper than that.
I feel that restoring the broken relationships with my parents is part of my relationship with God, sure. I also know that I am no better than they are; there are hurts and hangups on both fronts. We know there are toxic people, I am not saying, “Forgive and forget, pass the apple pie please.”
In my codependent nature, I pass along the over-protectedness, the abdonment, and rejection in how I discipline my girls. I had to learn (still am) how to heal and move on.
Smile & enjoy the day.