The night before my birthday last month I kept thinking about my parents. They are both deceased (in the past couple years) and I couldn’t shake the feeling of knowing what they looked like at my age. I happen to be 45 years old.
I did the math. I realized that my Dad turned 45 the year his third child graduated from high school. 1984. I was 13 years old at the time of his birthday. During this time he was absent and not there for his young teenage daughter (or other children). The addiction of alcohol was strong and he chose that path rather than guide me in things I needed. There were letters between us but not visits. I hung on each card or handwritten letter I’d find in the mailbox. Hoping, even then amongst the anger and hurt, to have a father that I felt loved and cared for me.
As an adult , I understand better the way things are when one you love is addicted to something. I could have easily taken the road of addiction myself, I’m not any better, just didn’t. Oh there have been times in my past 45 years that I found myself desiring the numbness that the dark syrup of evil could grant me. I don’t excuse my father’s lack of parenting, but I forgave him almost 20 years ago because it was the right thing to do. He acknowledged his errors and I could clearly see the guilt that lay within him.
Switching to my mother, she turned 45 the year that I turned 18 years old. 1988. By this time in her life she had become a grandmother twice, once by her 17-year-old daughter’s choices(me). Mother was working full-time and married, preparing for her youngest to graduate and marry. She was happily married but signs of the injury sustained from a fall she had were starting to show. It was the beginning of her physical spiral into a world that she didn’t care to go.
The years around my 45th birthday have been ones that encompassed many things. Most of them quite different from my own parent’s experiences. I’m not saying I’m a better person or choice maker than them. I’m just reflecting on our lives at similar moments in time.
I’ve made choices that affected others, just as they did, some good some not so good. I’ve learned lessons, became a parent, teacher, leader, follower, and so much more, just as they did. I have been angry with those I love the most, (both my parents included), but the core in me says that I am forgiven. I am loved. I am the child of these two people.
My parents were reflections to me and in the same manner I am to my children. The reflections from any one of us has been poor and some amazing. I only pray I can take the reflections that are dark and evil and turn them from the ones watching. That they do not resonate and sink within my child’s heart.
When my children are 45 I pray they see the goodness in their lives. I pray they do not hold fast to the hard, difficult, dark moments they have endured or are in. There is glimmer, you just have to search for it. I know because I’ve spent a few days this week back in the darkness where I did not want to be. Those children of mine I speak of, they brought me some light on Christmas Eve. Children are treasures and even in the hardest times with them they can bring light to ones life. Sometimes they are the ones reflecting.
Blessings to you and yours. Be sure to hold tight to the flicker of light, even if it is only a spark. You have it in you to ignite the flame, I know you do!
Grace is a gift,