Acceptance Fills The Generation Gap

My mom was great.  For most of my upbringing, she raised me single-handedly with limited financial resources.  She went back to university in her 40’s to make a better life for both of us.  She had to go through me almost dying not once, but twice.  As she would say, I say “she done good”.  She died in 2011 a week shy of her 78th birthday.

My kids are great.  For much of their childhoods, I too have been a single parent and often used my mother’s rearing of me as inspiration when I found those times difficult.  I do the best I can and hope one day my kids might say “she done good” about me too.  Nothing could be a greater honour.  I have a 15-yr old girl, a 20-yr old girl, and a 23-yr old boy.

What is even greater are the memories I have of watching them be with each other.  And today’s Daily Prompt got me thinking what might be even greater than that is what I can learn from their togetherness, derived from exactly what I haven’t understood about them.

I’m like a lot of parents.  I have uttered words, under my breath of course, directed towards my mom wondering why she didn’t do such and such [insert a whole slew of possibilities] with me as I grew up, as I watched her do with my own children.  And maybe not like as many other parents but still, I have also wondered at times why it seemed like my kids treated my mom better than me [read: not given her sass and attitude].  The answer is the simplicity and humility of acceptance founded in unconditional love and respect for another human being.

It is likely my mom had some regrets over her parenting.  I think that’s only natural for a lot of parents to have, I know I have some.  And she was granted redemption from her shortcomings when she became a grandparent, ultimately to 9 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids.  The best example I have of this with my own children is how she was so happy when they had friends over or she got to go to some event at their school and meet their peers and teachers.  She loved finding out more about the people who made up parts of my kids’ worlds, regardless of their race, culture, taste in music, or colour of hair.  It was truly a joy watching her interact with them.  She done good.

Today, some of my proudest mama moments come from watching my children around seniors, whether that be strangers or people they know.  I have watched them drop all they were doing just to sit and listen to an “old” person tell a tale of “back in the day”.  I have seen their kindest, gentlest, and most endearing sides to them just shine when they are simply near the elderly.  They have done good.

The picture above is of an inuksuk.  My kids made it in the summer of 2012 in St. Joseph’s Island in Northern Ontario.  It was our last family trip to the home where my mom had lived before her passing, before my step-dad moved to a new home.  My children spent many summer vacations, spring breaks, and other good times there.  St. Joe’s Island is my favourite place in the whole wide world.

Inuksuks are a cultural representation of the Inuit, used primarily for navigation purposes.  On the wild arctic landscape, they show that others have come before, have been exactly where the newly arrived are.  Each stone is unique and the structure cannot exist without the individuality and support of one piece to and from another.  The Inuit culture revolves largely around the closeness of family and inuksuks symbolize that.  For me, inuksuks will now also exemplify acceptance.

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