The Parent Trap


See those giant smiles up there?  My parents and my babies.  There was a time I NEVER thought I would see that picture.  I never could have IMAGINED that picture of joy in my lifetime.

My parents were in town this weekend from Arizona where they now live.  It’s harder and harder to watch them go every time they come visit.  I’ve had a long road with my parents, mostly due to my behavior – see this post about my mom being a hero and them cutting me off.  It took YEARS for them to trust this alcoholic again, and rightly so.  I had burned every good grace they extended to me over and over and over.

So, the pleasure it gives me to see the absolute pride on their faces with my babies is exponentially greater than anything I’ve ever seen in my life.  I was in the other room and heard my dad singing to my boy in a voice that I’m quite certain never used with my brother and I when we were little.  It tickled me beyond all reason.  My parents have 4 grandkids from my brother already and I’ve had the joy of watching them interact and love them to pieces the last 8 years.  It’s something else, when your parents become grandparents. This is not news to anyone who has kids, right?  It’s a totally different thing than the hard line they took as your parents.

My parents FOR SURE didn’t think I was going to have babies.  Because I was FOR SURE not going to have babies.  Until I met up with my now husband again.   So, they up and moved across the country to be close to their other grandkids, which I highly encouraged just a few years ago.  And now, look where we are.  KABLAMMO.  Two babies and we are in CHICAGO while they are in THE DESERT.  It kinda sucks.  But at least the time we have together is great and there is always Skype.  Technology can be used for good!

To hear my parents express to me how proud they are of how I’m doing and what great parents we are, calm and cool and loving, is something I never thought I would hear.  But what sweet sweet candy it is to my heart.  There was a time when I thought, and I AM SURE THEY THOUGHT that I would be their wounded adult child forever, constantly needing their help and their bailouts and their fixing – their burden to bear.  The best gift I’ve given them is getting and staying sober, my living amends of being a productive member of society and now to have these babies for them to coo over.  Once more last night they said, “we NEVER thought we would have 6 grandkids.  We are more shocked than anyone”.

NEVER SAY NEVER.  I said it a lot in my past, but the older I’ve gotten and the longer I’ve been sober, the less I know, and that’s wonderful.   I’ve learned to never exclude anything or anyone.  People can surprise me.  Mostly in a good way.  You know who surprises me the most?  Myself.  It’s been a long road with my parents, but I’m so grateful we’ve done the work.  It’s not easy, and it’s been uncomfortable and really difficult at times but we all made a commitment and nobody gave up.  Today they are in the circle of my favorite people on the planet and that is not something I would have said even just a few years ago.  It takes honesty and compassion and hard work to overcome an addiction in a family because everyone suffers and the loss of trust is enormous.  But the pride that comes from being on the other side for a good long time is even more enormous.  Almost as enormous as the smiles and the laughter that come with it.



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