There are always those painful aching parts in a movie where they touch your inner most fears or make you relive a memory that you hoped so desperately to forget. Every scene in a movie about a parents relationship with their child, gets me. It’s as if the right side of my chest is being pinched, I sweat and my toes on one foot nervously press against the toes on the other. Then before I know it, I make that god awful noise that sounds like you just released the emotion stopper and now tears are flowing freely – but not the happy tears – the sad hurtful tears.
The relationship between a child and parent is monumental, its original, un-copied, unlimited, unedited and the most precious relationship to exist. When I see struggle within that regardless of the whose side, my heart feels every piece of that – movie or in real life.
Growing up with a un-supportive father, and an absent mother there are moments I will forever long for, knowing that they will never exist. Moments like having my father walk me down the aisle. Father /Bride dances kill me every time, and being able to say I was my Daddy’s girl and know it was true. Or, maybe to have been there when he passed away – But, you know life sometimes just doesn’t work out how you plan. Take this story for instance.
My husband was born of a hateful man – a man who abused his mother and left them both when he was a baby. I’m sure my mother-in-law hoped for something better, and when my husband was two, a man entered his life. My mother-in-law said she knew he was the one when she walked into the living room and saw them sharing a bowl of cereal with one spoon. She said from then on it was the two of them – she even took a backseat. They did everything together and he wanted to adopt my husband as his own – he wanted to be his father in every sense of the word. He had decided to adopt him even before they had plans to marry. My husbands biological father signed his rights away, and the rest was history.
Everything about my husband is his “dad” and when we talk about who his “dad” is, it’s never been the man who left his mother. Often times I think my husbands strong feelings towards respecting mothers stems from that. A couples years after his parents married, a little brother came into the picture – along with a lot of doubts. Many people thought that once he had a blood-child an actual biological child – my husband would get the backseat – be less important. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Their father loved them the same, he was just as involved, just as dedicated. My husband stayed close to his father and his brother was a mama’s boy – but the four of them were a family.
They hunted, fished, camped, boated, spent hours on end doing homework, shared the discipline and so on. The characteristics that used to irritate my mother-in-law like getting the kids all hyped up before bed – or being the life of the party that never wanted to stop – are all the things my husband is. He would stop and pick up hitch hikers, women standing in the rain, and would defend his wife in such a manner that women would die for. Sure he wasn’t perfect, I still hear stories today – and although I have never met him I still admire this man so greatly. Their family had it all.
One morning an impromptu hunting trip with my husband and some family & friends ended in a horrifying tragedy, where my husband at thirteen – heard a gunshot and his father’s voice for the last time. When I say that the loss of this father was huge, that’s an understatement – 600 people attended his funeral and I am yet to hear one person that didn’t love him. He still comes to life when we watch home videos of when the boys were younger, and my mother in law and I watched their wedding too. He had eyes that told you exactly what he was thinking, and when she walked down the aisle to him, he couldn’t have been happier.
Quite a few years later now, I entered the family with reservation because my now husband is my junior by a few years. Having two children of my own, naturally I worried about what his intentions were and as we dated more, I questioned how someone this young could know what he wanted. One night following an argument that mainly existed because of my fear of being left or hurt, and for the kids to go through that pain as well – my mother-in-law shared with me the story of her late husband. She told me after sharing all I shared with you above, that all my husband has wanted was a family – and that family to him has never been tied by blood. In fact at this point, my MIL was re-married with a step-daughter of her own as well. My husband was well versed in “step” life.
When I see my husband with my kids – it lights up my existence and their lives. He plays with them, he gets on their level, he does homework with them, and isn’t afraid to not be their friend. He is protective, loving, stern and a role model. Watching T.V. at night, I can look over and find my son snuggling with him, or my daughter with her head in his lap, and his fingers running through her long blond hair. My heart melts, my hearts happy and I know it’s all because his Dad loved him.
You see it doesn’t matter where the love comes from, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bio-parent or a step-parent – as long as there is a parent. Someone who gives their time, their energy, their love without any regard for a personal gain – solely to benefit the child. We all get some portion of this in life – if only for a small portion – or in our early years like my husband or in your later years like myself. Calling someone mom, was huge to me, and I never did it. Until my husbands mom acted like a mother to me, and at 31 years old I finally got the person that my husbands father was to him. A little piece of completeness.
In closing, tonight when you look at your child – look at them and see the child – not the other parent. See what needs they have, what talents they possess and can share with the world given that extra love, that extra time, that extra attention. Don’t be afraid or too busy to hug them, to discipline them, or to not be their friend. Because, inside of us all we have that small place that’s missing something? Don’t you?
See you next blog ~ Jess