Before I even start to write about my family stuff, I know that I will be talking about a subject that can bring many differing reactions in you, the reader. I do not profess to be a professional counsellor, or similar, in any way. What you read here is me, my stuff, and how I am processing it. If it helps you in a small way, then so be it.
I have recently been processing my family; in particular my parents. Right at the start I am not condemning them at all. They gave to me what they could, what they had received themselves. What they didn’t have, they could not pass on. They were not perfect and they did not have perfect parents. I am not perfect either. With my parents came the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I once heard a description of family life. Mothers lay the foundations, fathers are the scaffolding, and the child grows up to be a unique ‘building’ fitting a unique blueprint/design.
IN AN IDEAL WORLD….
But our world isn’t perfect and our parents aren’t either.
The thought of mothers laying down foundations was interesting to me, but it makes sense. In an ideal world, they are the ones who allow a baby to grow inside them in a secure place, the womb. When the child is born, their eyes can only focus at about 8″, just the right distance to see mums face/eyes when cradled in her arms. The child absorbs life from mum by just looking into her eyes. Mum nurtures, cares, feeds baby physically, emotionally and holistically. She lays the foundations of security, love and being.
In an ideal world, fathers allow the child to explore, to learn about the world and life while still in a safe environment. Fathers encourage the child in risk taking and in learning new skills. Fathers also help in the separation from mother, so that the child can grown up in confidence and security to face the world. They are the scaffolding as the child builds new ‘rooms’ to his ‘home’ as he explores and experiences his own abilities. The father encourages the child’s unique character and talents and takes delight in his child.
Sounds great. To an extent I was very fortunate. I was wanted, conceived in an atmosphere of love and born to loving parents. My father supported my mother both physically, materially and spiritually. We had grandparents living in the same town so we had support from them too.
One of the things that my parents couldn’t give me when I felt I needed it was TIME. They were both busy working people. My father worked for a book publishers, and my mother was a nurse – who returned to work when I first went to school and often she worked long hours. So we were ‘farmed’ off to our grandparents. It was a great solution but one that affected me personally. It was here that I saw the female image being distorted. If you remember in my post on “Misogyny”, my grandmothers actions detrimentally influenced me .
My parents endeavoured to make time for me; they would read bed-time stories; attend school functions; do family events. However, my parents were also heavily involved in the local church.
My father was a lay-preacher and senior deacon and I began to resent him doing church things when I though he should have spent time with me and my brother. I often think I felt this slight resentment in my mother too as she was often left at home on her own in the evenings as Dad did ‘church’! It was almost as if my mother slipped into the expected stereotype of a church leader’s wife: to be at home and look after the children, also working full days at the hospital. I realise that this will not have helped with my misogyny.
Yet I am so very grateful for my father. He was not emotionally absent, critical, insecure, controlling, indulgent, violent or passive. He was committed, hardworking, interested in my exploits and supportive of me, my brother and my mother.
I am so grateful for my mother too. She loved me, gave me a real sense of being and well-being. She laid good foundations in my life that allowed me to feel love, hold onto love and give love away. Why? Because she knew that she was loved too – by my Dad.
The Willow Tree Figurine picture above (courtesy of Google Images) encapsulates what I consider to be the perfect situation about family. The baby is to be surrounded by love from the mother, who is ‘fed’ and surrounded by love from her husband. Impossible today? NO, I think that people have forgotten what it can look like and need to be shown. It won’t be easy, but I believe it is possible.
With Father’s Day coming up, how about writing a post praising the good things about your father? Feel free to share your good memories here too, by leaving a comment below.
- the dysfunctional Arab couple (changehappensbecausesocietydemandsit.wordpress.com)