Even at the age of forty I still get that pang living without parents in my life. Both my parents are still very much alive but we have no relationship. And I know they say you don’t miss what you never had. This is true to a certain extent, although our relationship has always been based on me being the adult and them moving up and down the line from child to parent to rarely adult.
So in order for me to regain a positive and healthy mind I must always remain the adult in all situations. I can never be the child that needs help.
It is quite amazing how fiercely independent it makes you. Trying to find the right balance with my own kids, giving them some of my independence but always letting them know that I am here no matter what. To me my kids will always be my kids no matter how old they are.
The icing on the cake for me one day when I finally realised that I am not someone’s child but just a person born to go out into the world and get on with it was when my mother asked me to call her by her first name. I was so insulted, I am not going to lie. Wow really; I never thought a parent could not be that selfish.
Personally I would not like my kids to call me by my first name. I am Mam, Ma, Mammy, Mum, or Mother as my eldest likes to call me when she wants to make a point! Whatever they like, but pick one of the above.
I do get a pang sometimes when I see how involved other grandparents are in the kids’ lives. Its lovely to see and nice memories for the children to have. I have lovely memories of my own grandparents, I used to go stay for weekends with them in Dublin city and loved it. We would walk into Moore Street and buy the bags of broken Kit-Kats and other treats. My Nana would give me the famous fizzy orange ice cream float. I used to be sick as a dog! And without fail every time I stayed I would go home looking like Shirley Temple because she insisted on putting rollers in my hair!
When friends tell me their parents took the kids for the night or their parents collected the kids from school to give them a break. Boom, right in the gut. You are really doing this shit alone. But that’s okay because I can do it alone and so far so good for me.
Always having to remain the adult is tough no matter how old you are. But to be brutally honest I do not miss them in my life. My life is easier and it has no drama except the little dramas three kids can bring.
The only difference I find as a parent without the influence of parents in my life; I have to try harder to ensure my children never feel this way about me!