Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Parents aren't perfect

Your parents aren't always right.

They are not flawless. They're not always virtuous. They won't always be there when you need them.

They lie.

They err.

They fight.

They sometimes set bad examples.

They are unreasonable.

They are demanding.

They are needy.

A lot of times they're simply selfish.

At all times -- they're human.

And we have to recognize them as such.

Like all children, I put my parents on a pedestal for the longest time.

Until I became a teenager.

I remember analyzing them a bit more critically. Calling them out on their "wrongdoings." Not taking their word for everything.

Respecting them, but not worshiping them.

I was jaded, you might say.

But I also recognized early on that they were just trying to do their best.

Juggling their jobs, their relationship, their aspirations, their ambitions, and their only child.

Parenting is no easy task.

I'm observing my friends struggle every day.

Since most of them have toddlers, the biggest thing right now is making sure they mind their language in front of their kids. No saying "shit" or "crap" or "damn."

They will repeat everything.

As the kids grow, the parents -- my friends -- will start minding other things. Behaviors, habits, beliefs.

But just as I don't acknowledge them, or myself, as perfect, in time their kids won't either.

It's hard when the myth shatters.

I remember the time I started seeing my parents as just two individuals with all their follies.

It hurt.

Why couldn't they be perfect?

And why did I have to feel like an ingrate for thinking of them such?

They had so many expectations of me.

But I had even more. Of them.

I resented them for being who they were -- thinking I was part of a dysfunctional family.

Why did this have to happen to me?

Until, years, later I realized that all of us are part of dysfunctional families. There is nothing like a functional family.

All families are comprised of people -- and people aren't perfect.

The disappointment faded away.

I started empathizing with them -- as an adult. A flawed, imperfect, human being.

They were just like me.

Like the rest of the world, I used to see them in myself -- the eyes, the hair, the nose, the jawline.

Now I started seeing me in them.

It's been easier since. I relate with them on a completely different level now.

In their head, I will always be their six-year-old.

And they will always be my parents, telling me to not do this, to do that better, worrying about me, encouraging me, brimming with pride at my smallest accomplishments.

Some things will never change.

But some things have.

I don't dwell anymore. Neither do I expect the world of them.

I listen more.

And try to rationally understand.

I see them objectively for who they are.

I am able to say "it's ok."

They are my parents. But they're also adults figuring their way about life.

Just like the rest of us.

Also posted on my blog.

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