Today is Mother’s Day in most parts of the world. The day we take out to celebrate our mothers. Flowers, cards, little gifts, making sure to at least send a text, if you’re not going to see her.
Everyone, who’s lucky enough to have a loving supportive mother, will think of her today.
Because I’m not going to see her, what with living in another country and all, I sent her a text. Previously I had sent her flowers via one of those online flower delivery services. But I don’t think much of the whole business and I rarely find what my mother would like. So this time I didn’t.
I’d rather get her a flower bouquet that I got myself. Incidentally, next time I’ll visit, it will be for her birthday.
This week it was also Father’s Day in Germany. For some reason it is rolled into one with Ascension Day, which is a Christian holiday celebrating the ascension of the Christ. It is also celebrated as Men’s Day for all men to just get together and have a drink at a pub or escape their women any which way they can think of.
Since it is also a public holiday, most men are lucky enough to get the day off as well.
Well, this year it also happened to be my parent’s 34th anniversary.
Again, they got a text from me congratulating them and telling them I love them and to look forward to the next 34 years. My Dad got a separate text for Father’s Day.
Whilst this may be a little impersonal, it’s the least I can do to let them know that I haven’t forgotten. I appreciate my parents every day and it’s one more thing in my life that makes me a lucky person. I couldn’t ask for more supportive parents.
Parents shape us in more ways than they, or we as their children, probably imagine. My parents, mostly my mother in the early years, because my father was away so much due to his job, raised my brother and me to become independent adults.
They raised us to always give our best no matter what we do and what we may want to do later. We learned more things from them than I could possibly name. They taught us by example.
They had a great influence in shaping us into the people we are today, actively and passively, sometimes meaning to, sometimes quite likely not even anticipating how we would turn out.
I’m grateful for their influence.
And my brother and I are both lucky in that regard, because it was a good influence.
Of course we got into trouble as kids and we had fights with our parents, again especially with Mom, because she was always there, all kids do. But neither of us had a particularly problematic puberty either.
Parents and their kids have a complicated relationship. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. But it doesn’t need to be a bad relationship just as it isn’t automatically a good relationship.
Our dad didn’t know us very well when we were kids, that changed once we grew into teenagers and as adults we have each a very good relationship with our dad.
Having a strong willed, resolute, opinionated mother will cause friction as well and it did. But I’ve never felt not loved or not supported and when you grow older (and you’re lucky) you’ll figure out that your mother only wants the best for you. But a good mother will let you figure out for yourself what is best for you without imposing her own ideals or wishes on you.
Parents are supposed to raise their kids, support them any which way they can and then let them go, hoping for the best. And if the best is taking its time, they will continue to support their children as much as possible. But they all want their kids to not need the support eventually.
This is the ideal case and it’s what my brother and I had. Still have.
Plenty of people I know weren’t so lucky, though.
Not everyone, who happens to be a parent, should’ve ever had children. If you can’t take care of yourself, how are you ever going to be able to take care of someone else? Becoming a parent doesn’t turn anyone into a good mother or father.
Some people try and shape their kids into something they wanted to be when they were young (or younger), putting immense pressure on the kids, especially if they don’t want to be what their parents want them to be.
Some parents will not know how to nurture or support their child. They’ll feed it and send it to school, but they won’t be doing a proper job of it and who knows how the child will turn out.
Some parents project their own inadequacies on their children and push them until the kids either crumble or run away.
Some parents will be too preoccupied with themselves and leave the job of parenting to a nanny or the school.
You see, it largely depends on the character of the person, who happens to be your mother or your father and their desire of wanting to be your parent and try and make the best of it, if they turn out one way or another. It will also depend on if they wanted you or if you were an “accident” and then why they wanted you or if they were happy about the accident.
My parents planned me, my brother was an accident. But somehow in their case it didn’t make a difference, because of who they were and are. My brother and I basically grew up as twins and received the exact same upbringing.
We have a lot in common, but we’re also very different. We share some of our interests and some of our values, but some of our interests and values and the ultimate paths in life we each took, couldn’t be more different.
We were the first to properly graduate from high school (well, the German equivalent) after attending 13 years (ten years is the minimum, if you want to take on an apprenticeship, if you want to go to Uni, you’re going to have to do 13). We both studied. I let go of my academic education once I realized that it wasn’t my path (I did enjoy it immensely for four years, though). My brother is a physicist with a diploma just finishing his PhD thesis as I am writing this.
I am a globetrotter and a writer. We’re both interested in photography.
Despite our parents being married for 34 years now, neither my brother nor I are married, and curiously we each had one serious relationship in our lives so far. Incidentally we’re both gay.
Naturally that was the biggest shock to our parents, regardless of anything else, but once they got over that they accepted it for whatever it is and made sure to let us know straight away that they would always love and support us.
I can never thank my parents enough for who they are and how they raised us and how much they supported us and continue to support us.
I’ve not ruled out to be a parent myself one day. And I can only hope to do half as decent a job as they did.
I turned out alright, didn’t I?