I had originally titled this post “Stop Blaming Your Parents”.
That’s before I realized I would be publishing this post on the Perfect Palindrome Day.
It is the second day of the second month of the year 2020.
That means that it reads 02-02-2020 both forward and backward. That also means that it works with internationally recognized date format where the day is first, and the month is in the middle.
This hasn’t happened in 900 years!
It also won’t happen for another century. Suffice it to say that this will be the only occurrence of a perfect palindrome in our lifetime.
Today is my mom’s birthday.
I just called her and told her about the palindrome. She had no idea and sounded excited. It was great to hear her voice.
To honor my mom, I’ll use an actual photo of her instead of the usual stock photo. She’s earned it.
I wonder if she knew at age 19 where she was going? Do any of us really know?
I wasted a lot of my years here hating my mom, especially in my late teens, early twenties. That’s where the original post title came from. My thoughts about my parents really boiled down to, “they should have been better.”
Anytime you use “should”, you are judging. I was most definitely and certainly coming from the I’ve never done this, but if I had, I would have done it better mindset.
Would I really have? At age twenty, would I truly have crushed the parenting gig?
At age thirty, would I not have tried to escape my life by trying to numb it away?
That would be a no.
The truth is that I was a hot mess through my twenties and thirties. Did I do it better? Probably not. Why was I so fixated on doing it better?
I honestly think it’s a natural reaction. At some point, children find out their parents are fallible humans and we conjure up these judgments and ideas that we would never behave the same way.
Except we do.
Every damn time.
Because we are also fallible humans.
We struggle with our own sense of self worth and purpose. Every day.
We say things and do things that we never fantasized that we would. Not in our wildest dreams.
We do these things because we are trying to escape the reality of it all. We can’t freaking wait to grow up, to spread our wings and be on our own, but once we arrive at that place and understand how shitty it truly is, we wish we were seven again.
How fascinating is that?
Then if we have an opportunity to really get in touch with our soul, we arrive at the realization that our parents were the same stupid kids with the same misunderstanding of the space between idealistic and realistic that we ourselves once held.
Then we might find some compassion.
That’s where I am today (and most days).
I finally realize how much time I’ve wasted wishing that my parents had been different. Wishing that my childhood experiences had been different. Perhaps they would have been a little more perfect.
I realize that our son is on the verge of that age where he is beginning to see our human flaws. And for all of the idealistic life that we try to create, he will surely wish it were better for him.
That’s just how this works.
All we end up doing is the best that we know how to do in the moments that end up shaping us all.
Yes, I know that is deep but that’s what I’ve decided.
We are simply perfectly imperfect humans trying to find our way in this life.
Every single one of us.
As children, as partners, as parents, and as adults.
As siblings, as friends, as coworkers, and as human beings.
We might say or do things in some moments along the way that are less than ideal. Those moments don’t define us. They won’t if we don’t allow them to.
Any day can be the perfect day.
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
It’s all in how you choose to live it.
I understand now. Today is the perfect day. You are the perfect mom. You always have been.
This is how it was always supposed to be.
“Ring the bells that still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”
– Leonard Cohen
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