Family is a strange construct.
As parents we have children, cross our fingers, do our best, and hope our kids don’t turn out to be serial killers. As spouses we hope we’ve chosen well and have a partner who will love and cherish us the way we love and cherish them (unless we’re being adulterous assholes. Then we aren’t a good example). And when all the finger crossing and hope and prayers don’t work the way we envisioned? What do we do when we’ve raised the crazy one in the family? How do we ensure we DON’T?
If we are married, we hope that our spouses know and feel the love we have for them when they aren’t snoring. I hope that my husband knows that he is my foundation. He is everything that I’m not and more. If he doesn’t know that, then I’ve failed him. (And I don’t fail, so…)
If we are parents we hope our kiddies know how much they are loved. If we are parents with more than one child or if we have siblings we hope that they won’t follow the Cain and Able path. In this example, the Kardashians are a better model of sibling love and bonding. How sad is that. That the Kardashians are better models of love than that of a story in the Bible… Anyway, it’s all kind of a crapshoot.
You’re totally, vulnerably dependent on the good conscious of someone else when you have family. That’s the comfort and pain of it all. Family is supposed to be the one safe place to fall, regardless of your role. I can pour myself into my kids. I can raise them both exactly the same. One may figure life out and one may not. It’s all in the way they PERCEIVE their upbringing. When that perception is different than reality, well let’s just say that crazy will swoop right in and wreak havoc all over that family of yours. And if you’re not the crazy one in the family, well, let’s just say that ignorance is bliss. Cuz it sucks being the sane one (ok, fine… the MORE sane one).
Every family has crazy. It’s just a fact. Pretty sure scientists have proven it. If you don’t think that’s true that every family has its fair share of cray, look in the mirror. It’s you. You’re the crazy one. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Crazy can be fun. I know I’m crazy. I own it. I’m spontaneous, inconsistent, impulsive, creative, and unfiltered. You never know what will happen when I open my mouth.
But crazy can also be VERY fuq’d up. I’m not fuq’d up crazy (I hope). I’m not mean or spiteful. I’m not going to hurt others to get back at someone. Hell, I have no desire to get back at anyone I feel wronged by. I’d rather just move on. Spiteful, mean, vindictive crazy is what you DON’T want in your family. It’s divisive and dramatic. It’s painful.
When I think of the future of my family, I envision big parties and holidays with love and happiness and fun. I envision my kids smiling and laughing and hanging out with each other even when they don’t HAVE to. I look forward to hearing the stories of things they did together when they were teenagers that, when they’re 25 and 28, it’s ok to tell me because the statute of limitations has expired. I hope I teach them to be friends above all else.
In my experience, the actions that will get you the crazy designation quicker than most are those that could be described as mean. Not “oh I hurt your feelings on accident” but “I hate you and I want you to know how much I hate you so I’m going to make you feel it.” In general, I don’t understand why people have to be mean and hateful, especially to family. We all have our moments of insanity, maybe even instances we’ve been mean on accident. PMS, stress, ‘roid rage, sleeplessness… all of it can contribute. And that’s excusable for the most part. But most people don’t have PMS for 30 years. Not even men… LOL, ok, slight tangent alert: I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. Men TOTALLY have PMS for 30 years. How old is he? Just turned 30 today? Then, yes, he’s had PMS for 30 years. It’s ok. Y’all know I’m right.
So what can we do to make sure our kids love and respect each other? What can we do to make sure our kids know that we as their parents truly want what’s best for them?
To keep our kids from adopting the cray-cray lifestyle, perhaps we should find the answer to the question, ‘why are some people able to let go of the mistakes of their past and the good-faith mistakes of their parents while others aren’t’.
As a parent, my main job is to raise my babies to be functioning, contributing members of society. That means it’s my job to love them, educate them, correct them, keep them safe, their home life stable, and give them the emotional support necessary to convey a feeling of safety and stability. Along the way I will fail. I’m sure I already have. I may not even realize it. But I can assure you that kids remember. Like little baby elephants, they remember.
Maybe at some point a circumstance will present itself that I won’t know how to navigate. Maybe I’ll think I’m doing what’s best but I’m not. (Hard to imagine, I know. I mean, this is all purely hypothetical since I don’t make mistakes so just hang with me for a moment.) Maybe at some point my kids will start to doubt the love or safety or stability of their home environment. (Cuz, let’s face it, Lola can be a little off-kilter sometimes. She makes me feel unsafe with her stare and I’m pretty sure she’s judgy.)
God willing, if that happens, I can recognize the struggle and help them through it. You know, like Blac Chyna did for Rob. That fits, right? (That’s what he said.)
I also know that my kids will make mistakes. It’s part of growing up. They’ll make bad decisions. They’ll choose partners that may not be right for them. They’ll have friends that may try to influence them in the wrong direction. That’s part of growing up. Mistakes are just that (or so I’ve been told). You learn and redirect. As a parent, it’s my job to teach them how to redirect and move forward. I would hate to still be ashamed and holding on to mistakes I made at 16. Self-forgiveness. I think that’s key. (For example, I’ve already forgiven myself for the chocolate croissant I just inhaled. You’re welcome, self. You’re welcome.)
Here is my hope in the face of uncertainty: I hope my actions unify, not divide my family. I hope I exhibit behavior that makes my kids feel safe and my husband feel loved and respected. I hope my kids see me respecting their father even when life isn’t going the way we planned. And I hope that my kids learn above all else that they are responsible for their own happiness in life. Like the Atlanta Falcons do sometimes, when 300 lb. life comes charging, I hope we Rise Up.