Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Were Your Parents Before You Knew Them?

My parents
In the very center of this month of love, my mom and dad got married. I love February. This sunny month of hearts, flowers and chocolate also holds my birthday and my wedding anniversary. That is a lot of love!

Today my parents would have been celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary if she were still with us. I came across this wonderful photograph of them while preparing for her funeral in 2011. 


This moment in time intrigues me so much that I find myself staring at it off and on. I put it behind glass and my hand lingers over it sometimes while sitting in the living room.


It brings up questions and the mystery of a life unknown to me. The life my parents had before kids, jobs and heavy worries. I do not know the couple in this picture. My mom was complicated in that she did everything wholeheartedly. She decorated, celebrated holidays and loved friends with her whole heart. But she also worried wholeheartedly.


By the time I was a young mom myself, and completely self-absorbed, most of our mother-daughter conversations had to do with all the things that could go wrong while raising kids. Listening to the list of dangers surrounding us at all times, revealed her fear for us and desire to keep us all safe and alive. But it just made me crazy. 

Today I understand her a little more than I did back then. I know that being involved in the life of adult children is an odd sort of dance that requires tact, love and sensitivity. We want to help our kids and give them advice. But we also want to just enjoy being together and have fun as a family. I see now that my mom's worries about all of us were at the top of her heart all the time. So when we did talk or visit, that was the first subject to pop up. It was what we had in common as far as she was concerned. 

I hear myself talking to my grown kids. The first questions are about jobs, health, long-term goals. I have become that worried-sounding questioner. I do not want that. I trust my kids. I am not worried about their choices and plans, I'm not. Both my kids are braver and more talented than I was at that age. But still, I hear my voice going there all the time! I want my kids to know me as a person, not just mom, the worrier. Can they know me as an individual apart from the mothering role? What do you think? 

I did not get to know the fun side of my mom as much as her friends did. I'm sure that that is pretty normal. We are different people with our contemporaries than we are with our children. But, I feel like I missed something great. I want to know that laughing girl in the black and white photograph. 

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5 comments:

  1. I agree with you that I did not really know my mom when she was a young woman, nor did my kids know me then. Not really deeply knowing what makes a mom tick in her deepest places. Moms are too busy being moms, and kids are naturally self absorbed. I wish my mom was alive today so I could chat with her. My kids and I are very close, I am happy to say.

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  2. Susie - I enjoyed reading your post as I'm in the middle of writing a story about letting go when my mother passed away. I too didn't know my parents very well, very little in fact, in ways you speak of in who they were. I regret that but circumstances wouldn't allow much of it.

    What little I did glean about them after they passed were from love letters they exchanged when my Dad was overseas in WWII. It wasn't much but made me a little sad we weren't able to get closer like you talked about.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

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  3. I just love that photo! What a treasure. You describe the parenting/child/adult children dance very well.

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  4. What a treasure of a picture of your young Mom and Dad! Yes, I would definitely frame that one and keep it forever! It is difficult for us to comprehend what our young parents must have been like, before marriage, before kids, etc...but I expect they were a lot like we were at that age...full of questions, uncertainties, but fun and happy and carefree too. Perhaps they wanted to protect us from making some of the same mistakes they may have made in their youth, so that it why they were so anxious and protective. Maybe when we all get to heaven we will be on an even playing field...all happy and carefree again...precious souls able to just enjoy one another and our Lord together. That would be heavenly to me!

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  5. Love that photo, Susie. I have a similar photo of my in-laws that is a treasure.

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