Don't worry...this is not going to be one of those sentimental blog posts that makes you cry. But I feel that since I became a parent myself, I've gained a new perspective on some of the things that I didn't really understand about my mother when I was younger. Here are three.
1. "For most of our childhood, you were tired. All the time. Because we were exhausting." - Until I had kids, I didn't really appreciate the amount of energy involved in the daily routine: working all day, preparing meals and school lunches, giving baths, reading stories....Especially at the ages my kids are now, they're very high maintenance; they pretty much always want or need something. And they get up so frickin' early. I don't remember if I did that as a kid, but if I did, Mom, I humbly apologize. I didn't realize just how wonderful sleeping in could be.
2. "You probably worried about money more than you ever let on" - Don't get me wrong: as kids, my sister and I had a solid upper-middle-class upbringing and wanted for nothing. Heck, my parents even paid for me to spend a university semester at Herstmonceux Castle in England. But I do remember my parents worrying about my mother not having enough retirement income (ironic, I suppose, since she never needed it). And now I understand why: when you have kids, it's really hard to save for yourself. In spite of the fact that my husband and I both have decent jobs and earn reasonable incomes, the last few years have been the most difficult period of our lives, financially. Because kids are expensive. The daycare costs alone are staggering, and when you factor in saving for university on top of the regular household expenses...it's crazy. So, Mom, I hope you know I didn't mean to take it all for granted.
3. "I understand now why you went to Winners at 8 p.m." - As an older child, I didn't really get why my mom liked to go shopping at night. Why didn't just she do it during the day? Of course, the answer is simple: because that was the ONLY TIME she could have an hour to herself, since she was a working mom and someone has to stay home with the kids. That's one thing I definitely didn't appreciate: what it means, practically, to always have to put someone else first.
So, Mom, let me just say now: sorry I didn't get it earlier. In the typically ego-centric fashion of children, those thoughts simply didn't occur to me. But what goes around, comes around...I have no doubt that, one day, my kids will have the same revelations about me.