This afternoon my daughter, who is expecting her first child, and I went shopping for school clothes for her. I still remember the summer before my daughter started kindergarten when my mom and I took child #1 school clothes shopping for the very first time. It was such a milestone for me, and my mother had a ball shopping for little girl clothes for her first grandchild. We finished our shopping spree with lunch out “for us girls” at the Olive Garden. My mother died six years later, so that memory is especially precious for me.
Today was not nearly as momentous. Child #1 was having a bad day and I am trying to shake whatever infection I have that has my ear hurting, my lymph nodes swollen, my left eye swollen and itchy blotches popping out on my face. I look fabulous by the way. It has been raining steadily for a couple days now. But we both needed to get out of the house.
I’m glad we went. There is something so intensely satisfying to me about spending time alone with any of my three children. I marvel at what amazing people they’ve become. My daughter spoke to me about raising children – as a teacher herself, she’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. She is proud of the fact that she was raised by fairly strict parents. Her dad and I were also raised by pretty strict parents, and it seems to have served both my ex-husband and I well. Although neither her father nor I have much money, she grew up in a part of town where some neighborhoods had million dollar homes and their schoolmates’ parents might just as easilyhave been attorneys or doctors as teachers and truck drivers. My kids saw first hand that some parents treated their children to whatever they wanted and defended or outright denied their child’s misbehavior. All three of my children have thanked me and their dad for raising them the way we have.
I have made mistakes in my life, a couple of them whoppers which affected my children adversely. They haven’t always been happy with me or their father, and we can say the same about them. We have not expected each other to support or condone our poor choices. We know we are responsible for cleaning up our own messes. But we also know that no matter what mistakes any of us make, there is at the core of it all an unyielding, abiding love.