There are so many aspects to raising children that you don’t think about until you’re there. The most important part that I’m learning now is all about how. When Estelle was first born I spent a lot of my time thinking to myself “what the hell am I doing?” The first few weeks postpartum I spent going through the motions and just letting the mother instinct flow (while constantly second guessing myself). As time went by I focused most of my attention on eating, growth, motor skills and diaper changes but eventually Estelle turned into a tiny human and I had more questions to address.
How do I want to raise my children?
How do I want my children to end up?
How do I do this parenting thing right?
I’ve been given the opportunity to reflect on these questions a lot. I witness the reality of these questions thanks to the choices of my “elders”, my parents. I am always being told that I parent my parents. Father’s Day is a day in particular that I think about these questions, because I do not consider myself to have a “Dad”. I have a biological Father, one who helped in the process of my creation and that’s about it. It’s a sad truth that has plagued me for my entire life and that I have somewhat recently learned to deal with. My Father was raised by Italian, catholic parents in Upstate New York along with his two older brothers in the 1970’s. My Grandparents were elementary school teachers, among other things and always known as good people (even to this day). They instilled morals and values into their children and tried their best to raise them right. Yet, somewhere in my fathers teenage years he lost himself to drugs. The few years after their discovery of his problem and before my conception my Grandparents did all they could to help him in his fight, sending him to rehabs and other institutions, but nothing has worked this far.
A similar tale can be told for my Mother, I’ve learned of her past more and more since her recent adventure across the country. My Grandparents have told me about her upbringing, the struggles to control an independent, bull-headed teenager. The runaway daughter who eventually became pregnant at seventeen years old. The daughter who eventually followed down the same paths as her partner, getting tangled with drugs and alcohol. However, her family succeeded in breaking those addictions and helping her get well again.
I’ve learned a lot from my Grandparent’s integrity, regardless of my parents personal decisions.
Some of the most important lessons in my life come from my Grandparent’s integrity and the love for their children. I don’t want it to be misconstrued that I won’t try my hardest to make sure my children are good human beings, because I will. I find comfort in knowing that I will do my best to set them up for success throughout their lives. I find comfort in knowing that my children will always have these roots to fall back on, should they stray to their own paths and find a dead end. But I also know that I am not in complete control of how their lives unravel and that’s okay.