Good evening, all! Thank you for your patience during my… extended blog silence. Between finishing up the holiday season at the pie shop, shutting down the bakery for a week of vacation, and then all the madness/travel/actual rest involved in said vacation, I found that I needed to take writing off my plate too. You’d think I’d be excited to be stuck in a plane for 3 hours at a stretch with nothing to do BUT write, but an audiobook and the need for sleep had other ideas.
The good news is that I’m rested, refreshed, and slowly getting back into the good habits that I let fall by the wayside in the last few months.
Like most people, though, time with family is not always renewing and refreshing despite love and all the best intentions. My parents can be neurotic and benevolently overbearing sometimes (characteristics which, nebach, my wife says I come by honestly.) They are getting older and learning to deal not just with our world as it is- challenging enough for any age group- but coming to grips with the world as it was. That includes recognizing the good and the bad that we carry forward with us, however unwittingly.
“What the Axe forgets, the Tree remembers.”
My parents miss some of the culture they grew up in, but they are far too conscious to believe the “good old days” were good for everyone, or that parents “raised their kids right” back then- even their own. As much as people in their age group are tempted to bemoan “people labeling everything these days,” the fact is that we are getting more comfortable discussing the things that were left unspoken, and finding the language to do it well.
Why are we learning this all now though? Why is everything so confusing, new, and “sensitive?” To understand ourselves and others. To recognize and atone for the problems we passed along unwittingly, and most importantly to heal our own damage. No one gets out of this life alive, we are all damaged in some way, and we are all doing the best we can.
I cannot remember any time when I didn’t feel my parents’ love. We had arguments and fights, and they did discipline me, but I can’t remember ever truly thinking “my parents don’t love me.”
They always did their best to raise me and my sisters the ways they knew might work, which was their version of how their parents raised them. Those methods were their versions of how their parents raised them, and so on back into the mists of time for better or for worse- though the “worse” may not surface until many years later, much less recognized and managed as neuroses, traumas, and psychological scars.
Nothing grows on this Earth without some change and damage, and time doesn’t heal all wounds. It takes a strong mind and a stronger heart to look at our character unflinchingly- a lot more than it takes to point out the flaws in others. We have look at our upbringings, the behaviors and attitudes we were taught were “right,” in some cases the very things we think make us us… and be willing to say “No, that wasn’t right then. I did my best with what I knew, but I still caused harm. I need to own that, atone for it, and not pass it forward.“
We need to be brave enough to be vulnerable, strong enough to recognize our weaknesses, and bold enough to offer the forgiveness and patience we might have for others to ourselves.
I’ve never been one for New Years Resolutions, but this is one I think everyone should make an effort to keep.