Why I like my children as well as love them

I believe parental perception changes over time.  It’s not an easy metamorphosis.  

I’ll never forget the day my daughter refused to let me go out with her anymore, when she went bar-hopping with her friends.  It was a gut-wrenching experience, but absolutely necessary.  

Both my children spent years discovering their inner adult, while I tried to take a good hard look at my inner mother.

Between the time they turned 18 and the time they turned 40, we never doubted the love we had for each other, but we didn’t like each other very much.  It’s not uncommon.  Here’s an example of why this happens:

My first marriage ended when I was 21.  Having no other place to go, I lived with my parents for 2 years.  It was like being 16 again.  I had to ask to borrow the car and was told no more than once.    

The day I left home, I swore I would never make the mistake of living with my parents again.  I loved them, but didn’t like them very much.  Unfortunately, once my children left home they felt the same way about me.

When did I start liking my parents again? 

My 2nd husband was dying and they drove their motor home from Florida to Wisconsin — in December — to help take care of their grandchildren while I was at the hospital.  It was my home, and my rules:  That was the day I started liking them again.

Kids, me, sister

My sister and I didn’t like each other until we were in our 30’s, but that’s another story.  Just try to tell me about a family that doesn’t accumulate baggage on this journey called “life,” and I’ll show you someone with a bad case of amnesia.

Back to my kids, and our future.

I’ve heard/read/been told that part of the human experience is making mistakes.  This is an essential part of the middle-age metamorphosis. 

Between the ages of 20 – 40, your children point out the mistakes you made as a parent and how those mistakes colored their lives.  Once your grandchildren reach the age of 12, your children will start liking you again.

The moment a child hears the words of the mother spewing from their mouths:

“You’re not better than everyone else… You don’t talk like that to your parents…where are your manners…You’re old enough to know better…”

It’s a gut-wrenching experience, but absolutely necessary.  

I am so proud of both my children.  They are caring parents who have done a far better job with their children than I did with them. 

My son is getting a degree in music, a stunning performer who plays oboe, clarinet, saxophone, piano, and other instruments. He calls me every week.  My daughter manages a cell phone store, a skilled saleswoman with a sense of humor. Her store was #3 in the entire country (an easy task in NYC, not so easy in OKC), and a woman wise beyond her years.  I call her when I need advice, and if I ever needed a place to live, I’m sure her home would be open to me.

I like them, and I love them, too.

I hope they feel the same way about me when they have to clean out my house after I die.