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Question of the Week - Thank Your Parents

We looked into a lot of pre-schools before deciding on the Montessori school where the Pumpkin will start next Tuesday. Londo and I both really felt that this school was the right one for her (despite it not being a nut-free school). But although we think it is the right place to send her, there are some drawbacks for us.

Money is the big one, especially with the application fees, the registration fees and the advanced payment schedule. Whew! That's been tougher than I care to blog about or even hint at to most people. So I'm going to pretend like our finances all just fine and move on to something else.

The school is inconveniently located. For those who live in or are familiar with the DC area, you know that traffic is a HUGE pain. Just getting to work and back can take up way more of your day than should be legal! Add in school drop offs, and it gets more frustrating. Now add in two different drop offs, plus one of those that is 10-15 minutes (depending on lights) further north when you work south, and you start to get what I mean by inconveniently located. We will do it, but it will take more time away from being home with the kids having fun.

Anyway, I said all that to say this... About a month or so ago, I dropped off both kids at their current place and then headed up to the Montessori school to drop off paperwork. As I did that, I was able to foresee what my morning commute is going to be like this fall with the added location. And I thought back to the year I went to private school, about 20 minutes away from my house. Instead of walking to a bus stop and taking the bus to the local public junior high school, my mom drove me to and from the private school every morning and afternoon. Then I started thinking about all the times I missed the public school buses and my mom took me to or from school. And all those activities that I did? She drove me to them, and my sister and brother to theirs. Not to mention all the trips for me to visit with friends, including two of my best friends who lived in the next town up. Wow. My mom did a lot of driving for me.

There I was, driving up to this new school just to drop off the paperwork. I put in my hands-free earpiece, and I called my mom. "Hey, Mom. I'm driving to the Pumpkin's new school and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all the driving you did when I was younger, especially to the private school. Thank you for doing that for me." She laughed and said I was welcome and of course she would do those things for me. We talked about how great that private school was, and how I hoped that the Montessori would be a good fit for my daughter.

Then I told her, "I think everyone should have a kid, not just cause kids are wonderful, but so everyone can actually understand what their parents did for them! Having children has been the biggest eye opener for me about things I previously took for granted."

So this week's question of the week is:

Now that you have kids, what do you want to thank your mom or dad for doing for you as a child?

On that same phone call, I once again thanked my mom for putting up with my physical sensitivities. One of my family's stories is about me as a child and my shoes. I could not STAND IT when the socks weren't exactly right or if the shoes were tightened the exact same amount. I would throw a fit. Not because I was some temperamental diva. But because I simply could not leave the house and function unless my socks and shoes were just right. Now I know that at times I have bordered on having Sensory Processing Disorder, but back then I luckily had a very understanding mother.

On that same phone call, after I thanked her once again for putting up with all that, she said she understood because she has skin/physical sensitivities also. And then I realized that I could now see signs of those sensory issues in her as well. In fact, I believe that the search for the perfect nightgown for her continues to this day!

For my dad, I have before, and will again, thank him for treating me like I was capable of doing anything. He did not assume that my sister or me couldn't do the things my brother did just because we were girls. No, he taught us how to fix things and build things. He had me help move the couch and finish dry-walling the basement. He passed on his love of power tools and football to me, which has come in very handy over the years. Having a daughter and a son of my own, I see how it could be easy to treat them differently based on societal expectations of gender, even when it's not reasonable to do so. I'm so glad my dad knew that my sister and I were able to do most things that our brother did, as long as we were interested.

What about you? What did your parents do for you that you wish you could thank them for now? What struggles are you discovering in parenthood that give you new or more respect for what your parents did? Do you call them up and thank them? If not, you totally should.

Comments

paola said…
YOu really got me thinking. There are many, mnay, but these are the two that stuck out.

Mum:
For basically raising us ( bro and I) single-handedly. Dad worked away from home till I was 19(?) and much of that time Mum, Bro and I were following him round Aus., but not actually living with him ( he came back on Wednesday nights and on the weekend). She did all the child-care without help from relatives or friends. And she did a great job too.

Dad:
Insisting on raising us bilingual. This was actully quite unusual consideirng none of my cousins and friends of the family ever spoke Italian at home, despite having two Italian parents, like me. Perhaps it was only because my father never actually learnt English, who knows, but he certainly did me one big favour. None of my cousins speak Italian (or a second langugae )now.
geeks in rome said…
my list is HUGE: but the thing that totally sticks out is that she took time to play with me whenever I asked. She was a single mom working fulltime teaching highschool. I know now that her job was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. She had really bad kids and an a-hole supervisor.

We'd come home from school and she would need to get dinner ready, build a fire if it was winter etc... there was ALWAYS work to do at home and she loves to read and relax. I know the last thing I would have wanted to do is play in those circumstances!

But whenever I wanted to talk to her or play something she would comply. She always gave me her 100% undivided attention when the really necessary chores were done.

She easily could have said "I have x to do." But she didn't. We lived in squalor, but if the price of having a clean house was a mom who was never there for me, no thanks.

Luckily I am naturally inclined to want to play with the kids a lot. But there are days when I would much rather lounge on the couch and not move for an hour. We have found some great compromises, but I'll always remember how hard it must have been for my mom to muster the energy to play 10 games of Connect-4 after work!!
Anonymous said…
I'm strange, I guess, because in a lot of ways becoming a parent has made me less appreciative of my parents, not more. I just feel like there are a lot of things that they did badly or selfishly. (Maybe I'm also doing the same things badly or selfishly, but hopefully I'm at least doing them *differently*. Ha!)

I guess I'm angry that my parents seemed to often make decisions with only themselves in mind. I'm also saddened that they haven't ever seemed to see me as I am, but rather as they want me to be. These are two things that I want to do very differently as a parent.

Granted, I have no wish to make my child(ren) the center of the universe and the basis of all family decision making, but I want them to know that they count as much as the adults. And I strive now to listen to and understand my son as an individual who is different from me and has a heck of a lot to teach me (and will do the same with my daughter-to-be-born, too!). My parents seemed to want me to be perfect, or just like them, or some combination of the two -- and the feeling of being misunderstood by them much of the time persists to this day.

But! I do appreciate that they were doing the best they could, and that that is a heck of a lot more difficult than it seems. And I also appreciate that they loved and looked out for me through tough times. This parenting gig is no exact science, and I appreciate that they couldn't do it perfectly, any more than I can.
Cloud said…
Oh, the list is huge. I have had a similar thought about how much more I appreciate my parents now that I'm a mom.

Probably the biggest thing I "owe" my mom for was putting up with my sleep as a baby. Apparently, I went through a phase when I thought 2 a.m. was party time. They were sharing a house at that time, so my Mom just got up and played with me for 30 minutes or so at 2 a.m., until I was ready to go back to sleep. I remember that whenever I go pick up my daughter who should be sleeping and see a playful grin... but I'm more inclined to try to force the issue and get everyone back to sleep!
Jac said…
In some ways I've been more appreciative, but mostly I've been like @Anonymous. Becoming a parent has made me realise how selfish my parents were and are. If anything, reflecting on my parents has been a guiding force of how I DONT want to parent.

There is one thing they did though, which I really really appreciate. My home life growing up was pretty sucky. When I was 12 I won a full scholarship to a prestigious preparatory boarding school. And my parents let me go - even though it meant seeing them only at Christmas, Spring Break, and for summer holidays. It really was the best thing for me, completely opened the world to me, and changed the entire direction of my life. It was not until I became a parent and think about sending DS away at the age of 12 that I realised what a huge wrench that must have been for my parents - but I know they did it to give me the best opportunity, despite how they must have missed me.
Sky said…
Whenever I swing by your blog, you seem to be going through the exact same thing as me! My 3 year old starts Montessori next week and, like you, I am really excited for her and think it's a great fit, but also nervous.

Two things I have to thank my parents for: not strangling me at nights - I didn't sleep the night through until I was 5! My own two aren't great sleepers and I haven't had 8 hours uninterrupted in a couple of years, but 5 years would totally destroy me.

The second thing would be (like you) treating me as an equal to my brothers. I was expected to be intelligent and to do things to the best of my ability, just like my brothers. A female cousin who was treated as somewhat less important than her brother did not fulfil her academic potential, despite being just as bright as me or her brother.
Jac said…
OT: I meant to add that my little guy is starting at a Montessori pre-school next month. It's only mornings, but I am sooooo nervous for him. I'm completely in love with the school and so excited for him, but....

Fingers crossed for @Caramama, and @Sky and me that it all goes well.
Becoming Mommy said…
i have. and apologized.
all because of The Stubborn. OMG, I didn't realize little people exerted such will.

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