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Monday, September 2, 2013

Tough Love

Tough Love
How many of our youth today are asked or are made to take responsibility for themselves?  I am grateful to my parents especially my mother for making me carry my own weight around the house. I am proud to admit that I am the product of a loving home from parents that like many others divorced during my growing up years.  The growing up years often referred to as the formative years.  The reason I say I am proud to admit it, is because many people that go through life making mistake after mistake often point at divorced parents as the reason for theirs bad choices.
As it was, I wasn’t asked who I wanted to live with, no one laid a set of options before me.  When the time for the separation was presented (abruptly as most often happens) my mother made the decision to leave my father and take the children (my older sister and me).  There is something known as Monday morning quarterbacking, and I am glad that I wasn’t given a choice.  I loved both my parents, and I was young enough that I would have been confused if not traumatized to have to decide.
All the character traits that I carried (or that carried me) throughout my life can be traced back to the way my mother raised me.  My love, respect, and appreciation for women, was either instilled in me by my mother or grew in me out of the respect and admiration I’ve always had for my mother.  My mother always carried herself before her children with the dual role of mother and father.  She could be strong and strict, while at the same time loving, caring, and considerate.  She always provided above and beyond the needs of our single parent home.
I remember growing up and feeling on equal ground with friends that came from a two parent home.  Having been raised in the time that I was, I could safely say that if I was to give a title to the way my mother ruled the roost, that title would have to be Benevolent Dictator.  Our household was definitely not a democracy, but our dictator was very loving and considerate.  I know for a fact that my mother would skip a meal if it meant making me happy by buying me something I wanted or needed.  Had I known that then, I wouldn’t have asked for anything, but I know now that it happened more often than I would like to admit.
The way my wife and I raised our family was very similar in that we made our children’s needs a priority, but the sacrifice factor was not the same level (type).  Unlike our parents, our sacrifices were of a different type; like not having the luxury car (settling for a more reasonable model), not going on a European vacation choosing instead to build an extra room to the house for a playroom, and building a playground in our backyard.  Because my boyhood vacations were always hard work instead of fun (see Post: Cotton Fields Back Home – May 27, 2013- ) our young children were often treated to visit family in Southern California and of course cousins Mickey, Donald Duck, Goofy, etc., etc.
Growing up, however, I was raised to be responsible from a very young age.  I remember waking up in the morning, and making my bed while I waited for my turn at our single bathroom.  When coming home from school, my sister and I would clean dishes, and performed other house chores before settling down to our school homework.  By the time my mother arrived from work, the house chores were taken care of, all she had to do was prepare dinner.  With regard to dinner my mother was a most wonderful cook, and my beautiful wife gives her all the credit in the world.  Proper credit where credit is due, my wife’s cooking is a perfect balance between healthy, and delicious, where my mother’s cooking was nutritious and delicious with emphasis on delicious, and the heck with healthy.
My mother trained me to be respectful to my elders, to open doors for people, to carry my fair share of the workload, to be of service to others, to give until it hurts.  If in fact I’ve been a good equal partner to my wife, I owe it to my upbringing, and directly to my first love, my mother!  The best is yet to come….

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