Of course, I write this knowing that in 20 or so years, my kids might say the same thing about me.
But as much as I flub this gig up, and trust me, I screw it up big time, I know in my heart that it will be different for my own kids.
I hear parents talk all the time about how worried they are that they're going to screw their kids up like their parents did to them. I'm one of them.
But I looked him in the eyes and I told him "Your parents never worried about screwing you up, so you're already one up on them."
The second you break the cycle of whatever sort of dysfunction that has plagued your life, you're changing the path for yourself and your kids.
It seems small, I know, but it's like a pick axe chipping away at a stone wall. Each hit matters. And once you do it once, you've got the momentum to do it over and over again.
I looked in the mirror yesterday, feeling terribly disappointed that my mother didn't call or text or send anything for my daughter's birthday, something extremely uncharacteristic of her. Even though we're not really speaking, I just didn't think she would stop speaking to my kids as well. She knows my husband's phone number. She knows where we live.
There are ways.
But instead of reaching out to her like I always do, I just left it alone. Maybe she forgot. Maybe she was working. Maybe she sent a card and a gift and it just hasn't arrived yet.
I've given her a lot of maybes over the years.
But yesterday, I gave her the last maybe:
Maybe this is really who she is.
She and my father did things to me and my brother that I cannot physically and emotionally imagine doing to my children. And I've thought about them over and over for years now. I've beaten myself up for how I react to things in my life, the survival tactics formed as a child just to make it through a day in my house.
But all the defense mechanisms and poor coping skills and psychological descriptions for "Hey you had fucked up parents" is letting the dysfunction win.
Every time I look at myself miserably in mirror or feel guilty about the extra piece of birthday cake, it scores a point.
When I shame myself, it celebrates.
I do not want my kids crying about me like I do about my mother.
So I think it's time I seek my revenge.
I apologize to my children when I'm wrong. I do my best to talk through scary things with them, as difficult and painful as it is for both of us. I'm present for them, as best as I can be, and willing to tackle issues and challenges.
I want to be the mother to my kids that I never had. I want to be a woman who is a good role model for my girls and my boy.
Not perfect. Just happy.