The Joy of Parenting (My Parents)

9 Jun
Nuclear parents

These are not my parents. But this is what you might expect of them. Photo by David Chartier. Click the image to check out his Flickr PhotoStream.

I think my favorite part of growing up so far  is watching my parents grow up.

You know, watching them morph from parents into people.  Real people.  People who occasionally cuss, share with me their ridiculous dreams and hopes, and frivolously spend on silly things, not just food and clothes and education for their kids.   It’s a grand old time.

I was the last of three kids and so I was the last to work through the trenches of their tyrannical parenting.  And when I passed the finish line, they let loose.

I knew I’d get to reverse roles with them someday, but I didn’t know it’d happen like this.  I thought I’d be changing diapers and trying to stop my dad from eating nothing but Pepsi and chips and driving his nurse to suicide.  And I’m sure that someday I’ll live out that dream. But I’m kind of surprised that there’s a sort of pre-old people stage, where I have  to tell my mom to put on some clothes and tell my dad to stop staying up all night and playing video games.  I didn’t see that comin’.

One of my favorite recollections of their middle-aged hilarity is when I asked my mom if she had a pair of shoes I could borrow and all she could offer that matched my dress were her … um…her…*cough*-me pumps.

I immediately declined.  She thought it was hysterical.

But there really is something pretty awesome about the transition of my parents from folks to friends.  I find my mother absolutely hilarious and often ridiculous.  All the time, I’m seeing more and more clearly that I’m basically her, but with a big fat dose of crazy on top.  And I find my father incredibly charming.  He’s such a kooky little hermit of a man and the ways he goes about things never cease to amuse me.  I remember one night when I was growing up, he had decided for some reason or another that a tree branch in our backyard needed to be removed.  He promptly went to the kitchen, grabbed my mother’s biggest, best steak knife, and hacked the branch to little tiny bits until 4 in the morning. It’s memories like this that I look back and treasure, realizing that they were really this crazy all along and I was just blinded by my youth.

When I think about how I pieces of both these people in my genetic makeup, I’m genuinely frightened.  And honored.

Sometimes when I go home to visit and I’m out with them for an evening, I listen in on their front-seats-of-the-car conversations and am genuinely amused that they raised me.  It’s a wonder I have any wits about me at all.

Then again, I’m still a relatively young lass.  I’ve got all sorts of years over which to pace my steady decline. ♣



16 Responses to “The Joy of Parenting (My Parents)”

  1. egills June 9, 2011 at 9:15 am #


    I’m my fathers daughter through and through…. thankfully! If I’d taken after my mum I’d spend most of my life lost and starving!

    They are also quite probably my closest and bestest friends in my whole world ( bar Brian ). Although going on holiday together for more than 5 days is a bit of a push.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      Isn’t that funny? Love them to death, but after you’ve spent a significant portion of your life in closed quarters with them, you can really only take so much of it at a time from then on. 🙂


  2. pegoleg June 9, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    This is charming, Jackie! I’d love to see your parent’s rebuttal.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      It’s under “Tammy” 🙂


  3. Margie June 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    The best part about the kids moving away from home (and the dog dying) is the freedom I have to be the person I would have been if I hadn’t been busy being the person I was because I had kids…


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      I’ll bet! There are some aspects of getting older that I really look forward to (but can certainly wait for). One of them is the transition from being a parent to being a person again. 🙂


  4. mom June 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Hey….Mom Here….All I’m gonna say is you’re only as old as you feel and since you kids are all gone I again have the freedom to enjoy time with Dad ALONE and act the age I feel like! We are having fun remembering why we got together 32 years ago and are still loving it……so……you have fun getting to know us as people and we’ll keep driving around in Dad’s car, acting live we’re young
    I love seeing us in you. It’s good to be a little crazy.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      Mom, I’m more than a little crazy. Let’s be honest. ❤


  5. thesinglecell June 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Very sweet. I remember realizing my parents were people. It didn’t stop my mother from making me insane… in fact, it only encouraged it all the more (she wanted Sarah Palin to be VP. I didn’t make that up.). She also told me the date on which I was conceived (July 4, 1976 – thanks for that, folks) and something about crotchless panties that I’ve mostly blocked out.

    But I did just buy my dad a Father’s Day card that says “Growing up, we could be difficult sometimes… a little stubborn, and acted like we knew it all… but there was a good reason for that.” (Open card) “Heredity.”

    I’m hoping he laughs. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      I really had to deep breathe after reading someone supports Palin. I know they’re out there, but I really try to tell myself they’re not so I can sleep at night.

      Ew to the crotchless panties. That’s a little too much info from the mom unit. I hope you and yours have a lovely Father’s Day together 🙂


  6. Ro June 10, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I learned that there is a painting of my mom in black lace lingeire floating around out there somewhere. That was a fun one.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

      That’s truly fantastic. I hope you never find it.


  7. Jules June 11, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    Thought I would butt out on this one since I didn’t have much to share…but whatever; having a moment right now.

    I confess Jackie. I felt real envious after reading this. I mean…your mom even takes the time to comment on your blog. I’d be lucky if mine even knew what one was. You also have your siblings and a dad. Don’t even know my “dad’s” name and I’m a single child. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have those.

    You are so lucky. 8D


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

      I am truly, incredibly lucky Jules. I don’t know what kind of a person I would be without my family, and my mom reads through my blogs just to keep up on whatever tidbits of life I might not include in our phone chats. Absolutely blessed in that respect.

      At the same time, you can learn a lot about independence and self-reliance without. I’m not saying it’s a blessing to not have a tight knit family, but I’m sure you have some things in your skill set you might not have otherwise. And you’re able to connect with other folks on that note – folks who might really need someone who knows what it’s like to not have family in their lives either.

      On that note – I am truly sorry that you can’t share in that feeling with me and I will pray and hope that someday you can reconnect.


  8. The_Observationalist_NYC June 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    This post is great. I initially wanted to think of an amusing anecdote and try to relate all our miseries with parental advice, but really?

    I was so glad to read this post. Thank you.


    • Jackie June 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks! So glad you liked it 🙂


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