I was looking through some photos for a Throw Back Thursday and came across this photo taken of my mom, my daughter and myself in July 1976. Long before most of my followers were probably even born. This photo brings to mind so many things, mostly loving memories of those days, my mom, and all the fun we had together. Geese, notice how tan we were? Skin cancer? Never gave it a thought. I was living on a lake not far from Ann Arbor Michigan and soaking up as much sun as my work schedule would allow. I could write a book on all the things we didn’t know back then. Also some of the things we did know we didn’t pay any attention to the facts. Both my mom and I were still smoking back then. Yes, Kelley was subjected to second-hand smoke until she was four years old. Bad Mommy!
Which reminds me of something I had always said: babies don’t come with instruction labels. No matter how much you read, how much you listen to other parents, or how much you think you know, it’s all a crap shoot. Just when you think you have this parenting thing all figured out, bam! Yep, something changes. I learned early on during motherhood that the experts are full of bull and many of them didn’t even have any children. To me that’s like a Priest giving marriage advice. Or me telling someone how to rock climb. If you have never experienced the subjects how you going to give advice? For that matter, even if you have experienced something what makes anyone an expert? How many children do you need to raise to become an expert? I just don’t understand that at all.
My parents had two children and raised us both the same. We are completely different. So did my parents do really good with one of us and screwed the pooch on the other? Also, which one of us got the short end of the stick? I like to think I’m the one that was raised by the expertise that my parents learned on my brother. But I might be wrong.
Do we measure our success of our parenting skills by how our children grow and develop into adults? Or maybe its how long it takes our children to grow up and become responsible adults. In that care I need to have a serious talk with my parents. However, I don’t think it was their fault that I didn’t want to grow up until after I had my daughter and then it was a struggle. Are you kidding me? In 1976 we (my friends and I) were having too much fun to want to grow up completely. I was responsible in that I supported myself and my daughter, paid my bills, worked hard and sometimes two jobs to keep off welfare. I really don’t think I truly grew up until I was about thirty-two. I’m not sure why I feel that way, just sound right I suppose. Even today I’m not sure I’m completely grown up. Acting silly and young is fun.
I look at my daughter, now almost forty and I say to myself that even without instructions, I did a pretty damn good job. I could write pages and pages about her, all she has done, all the places she has been, all the accomplishments she has achieved but I won’t. Just take my word for it that she has done a good job with her time on earth and I couldn’t be prouder.
Thirty eight years ago, if you would have told me all the things that would have happened to the three people in the photo I would have thought you were high on something. I’m glad I didn’t believe all the child rearing books and articles that I had read and stuck to my basic instincts. I say I did pretty good if I say so myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I made plenty mistakes but that’s another story.