My Dad, who used to be a Hell’s Angel biker in the 70’s, was full of sage advice. That wasn’t because he read about it in a book. He lived life. He made mistakes, and corrected them accordingly. His upbringing wasn’t easy, and neither was mine, in part because of who my parents were. After becoming a parent, I realized that many things that I wanted to protect my children from are so abstract that you can never protect them fully. I decided to take the advice of my Dad, who wouldn’t have been called “wise” without a chuckle. He used to tell me all the time that I had to worry about how “I” was doing vice what everyone else thinks. Sometimes, he would listen to my troubles, whatever they were and just tell me, “Feck what other people think”(in a bit more colorful language, befitting his biker status). I learned early that I am different, but no better than anyone else. I tell my kids to always, “Run your own race”, no matter what they are doing. It helps to only try to improve those things that are of importance to bringing about a happy heart. That is all I want for my kids, happiness. It’s so abstract but the secret I have found is to care less about the opinion of others. Never put the key to happiness in anyone else’s pocket.
When my little girl wants to talk about her Littlest Pet Shop adventures, I stop what I am doing and really listen because it’s her little bit of happiness she is sharing with me. I take her seriously, so when a serious problem arises, she trusts in me.
Those who know me, understand that my life hasn’t been without it’s bumps and bruises. I don’t think that makes my story any less beautiful. I have grown closer to people because we understand some pain that only those who have experienced it, will ever know.
My Dad passed away several years ago but I still rely on his words each day. He is the voice in my head, my conscience when I am considering a big decision. Knowing he won’t see my children become parents of their own, makes me sad, but I know that his words will be in their heads as they face difficult choices. “Run your own race.” “You’re life is so small, make it mean something.” “Don’t waste time, you don’t know when you won’t have anymore.”
I want to be the same voice of encouragement and understanding for my sweet kids. Everyday I use my time as carefully as I can, and bring joy to those I can.
I have a wonderful life, even though sometimes it’s hard. The dryer breaks and I have to find money to fix it, or one of my kids needs to go to the dentist and I have to find time off work, or my ex and I don’t see eye-to-eye on an issue. There will always be things that aren’t perfect, but how can you be a complete person, or a good friend if you’re shielded from the bumps and bruises? You have to be able to say, “Wow, I know that must hurt. I remember when I fell down and it was hard, but I got back up and you will too. I’m no different than you are.”