Sunday, May 2, 2010

One Regret

I am almost fiddy fav. I think that's a perfectly lovely age to be. However, it isn't at all what I thought it would be. I thought I'd be stable, staid, secure. . . . you know, grown up. But I must have skipped that day, because it hasn't happened yet.

It turns out, I'm good at some things that I never thought I'd be good at. I'm an excellent cook, for example. I'm a pretty good photographer. I'm turning out to be an avid gardener. Who knew?

Then there are those things that I always thought I'd be great at, that it turns out. . . . eeehhhh, not so much. I always thought I'd be able to stay thin, but here I am, pulling in to the drive of fiddy fav with a rather rounded womanly shape. I always thought people would want to hear me sing, but much to my surprise, sometimes I'm asked to shut up.

And I think most of us grow up thinking we'll be excellent parents. But I just wasn't. I mean I never beat them up or anything, but I was sure a long, long, loooong way from mother of the year. If I could take a re-do on anything in my life, I would be the sort of mother my niece, Janna is. I'd be the sort of mom my sister was.

I think I was just too scattered. I couldn't get the hang of bringing home the bacon, getting everyone to mass on time, making nutritious fun meals that everyone enjoyed together, keeping a clean house, being room mother. I just couldn't get it together enough to be the kind of mother I wanted so much to be. I was often sick when they needed me, and always neurotic.

In fact, it's ironic that I'm a good cook. I have a very hard time with food. There were never nice family meals when my kids were growing up. It's ironic that professionally I often help people improve their relationships with their families and parenting skills. I knew what to do, I just couldn't pull it off the way I wanted to.

And yet, my kids are pretty cool adults. Obviously I didn't ruin them, but I know I could have made their childhood more fun, more secure, happier. There has never been any doubt that I love my children more than they'll even be able to comprehend until and unless they have children of their own. I think they know that. But there's so much more to parenting than love.

And how is this for mature? I am neurotically jealous of the "families of choice" my children have. We all have families of choice. Those special friends without whom we can't imagine our lives. But because I know I was a C+ mom while my babies were young, I have a hard time just being grateful for the special people in my children's' lives.

This is entirely my problem. It is not my children's problem now. They are both grown and sane. But damnit, I'm going to be one exceptional grandmother some day. I'm going to be focused and doting and maybe even knit things for them.

Maybe fiddy six. Maybe that's the age I'll grow up and get over my jealousy. But no matter how old I get I'll never have a bigger regret than not being a super mom.


  1. How about looking at yourself in the mirror hen, and realising that you are a super mammy who has kept her feet very firmly on the ground?

    Sometimes just being there qualifies for extra kudos too.

    Besides... fiddy fav is merely the new thirty!

  2. Jimmy, darlin',
    There isn't a 30 year old alive as hot as this almost fiddy fav woman. As for the rest of your kind words, thanks.

  3. Well I, for one, think it's a good thing that there's actually a rule against judging your own parenting skills. You know that rule...the you-don't-know-what-kind-of-parent-you-are,- only-your-kids-know rule. The best thing I can think of to do as a parent is to make sure your kids are surrounded by people who love them (including and most importantly - you). Good job (and much love), Mama Jo!

  4. I don't know what kind of a Mom you used to be (my guess is plenty good enough, because your kids rock), however, I can say with certainty that you are one kick-ass Aunt.