Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!
As a child I was the youngest and the one who could often be found looking for a private spot to call my own. My parents allowed this strange behavior without question and my sister and brother didn't think it normal, but also put up with my moving my personal things into a closet or the back room of our house. The 'room' was meant for storage and did contain some stuff my parents kept there, but it was easy enough to clear out part of it to claim as my room. Since my sister and I always shared a room, my privacy was important. I was a loner in every sense of the word. I liked playing with my babies alone or reading alone or making up stories alone. I had friends, but none living very close by after age 8. Prior to that, I did have a friend next door at two different houses, two different friends. Then I still craved my alone space, but to share with them mostly, without my sister or her stuff interfering. She, of course, thought I was the one interfering and she wasn't wrong, I loved being around her and her friends, but I wasn't really wanted there. Being 5 years younger than she, we had little in common. Those 5 years are nothing now and we have a great deal in common.
I don't know how, but my mother understood my need for my own space and not only allowed me to move into any closet I chose or any other place I found, she even helped me find blankets or pillows or whatever else I thought I needed and she respected my needs. I am still in need of alone time and space and she still respects that need.
When I had children of my own, I thought I would know to raise them. I thought I would be a good mom because I had a good mom and I would just KNOW. Well, some things I did just seem to know, but other things, as they grew and challenged me, I had to talk over with my mom or my sister or my friends and then decide what course to take. Looking back now, I remember that most times my mom would tell me, using similar words the same thing over and over. She would tell me that I was raising independent children that would be able to live on their own and in order to get there, I would have to allow them to learn from their mistakes. I could not always 'fix' things for them. As difficult as that is for a control freak like me, I did try to do that, sometimes. I knew it was good advice and I knew that I needed to learn how to butt out of situations into which their own decisions had landed them. They had to learn the consequences of their decisions. Very hard for this mom to do, but most of the time, I did that.
They are in their 40's now and responsible, independent parents. They are better parents than they had, for sure. I watch them raising my grandchildren with such a good combination of love and discipline that I am sure they have been studying every parenting book on the market. Yet, I know that they actually developed these skills on their own. They learned from me, their spouses, their friends and each other. Each generation gets better at parenting because they repeat the good and avoid the bad things their parents may have done. I am sure I made a million mistakes parenting my kids, but I did something right because they are not only amazing people and professionals, they are amazing parents to my grandbabies.
I am now the grown and aging daughter of a woman who didn't have the perfect marriage for many years, but the last 10 years of my father's life she knew real love from a man who adored her. He was jealous of every man who even spoke to her and he believed every man wanted his wife. She didn't enjoy his jealousy, but she did enjoy that he loved her that much. She knew that he found her so desirable that surely, every other living man must also want her and she did enjoy that. She is now and always has been, a mother with a keen eye on what's going on in the world and one hand on her children. She still follows the news and worries about things that seem catastrophic or insane, but her first interest is her 3 children and their families. She is still one of my biggest blessings.
Having her near me at this time is her life and mine is a remarkable gift. She has enhanced my life every day since moving here 2 years ago. I no longer worry about how she is doing because I know how she is doing. I talk with her almost everyday and I see her whenever I want to see her. I love having time with her to just hang out. I just like being with her. She is fun and funny. She is beautiful and tries to keep herself active so she won't be any trouble for me. She asks NOTHING of me, but needs me to intuit her needs. I try and I worry that I will miss something, but she reassures me that she needs nothing that I haven't already done.
I am now hoping that one day, each of my kids and their kids will come to see me and help me with everyday things when I need help. I hope that one day they will just like being with me and stop to visit for just that reason. I hope I never am too needy or too much bother for them. I hope that I can always take care of myself and always be independent of my independent family. It's okay if they (the kids) need me every now and then! I kinda like being needed, a little bit.
The circle of life is a miraculous thing...child, parent, grandparent and child again. The second childhood is where we find ourselves hoping that the children we raised are there for our needs and more importantly to receive all that love we are carrying around.