Mom And Dad, I Forgive Your Parenting Mistakes (But Won't Forget)

family dinner

I hate that lump in the throat feeling. You know, the one that usually precedes the salted, free-flowing tears that mess up your makeup, or make you look less masculine. Well, get over it, swallow your pride, and get ready to lump and tear it up.

Band together with me, brothers and sisters. It's time to let go, let flow, and say, Mom, Pops, I forgive you ... before this day is done (or at least before they're dead and gone). Here, I'll go first:

Dear Mom and Dad, 

You've carried some pretty heavy life baggage. Granted, some of it's self-inflicted. But you also carried other pieces forward from your own parents and handed them down to me. Nonetheless, the stuff I'm forgiving you for is the stuff I won't let you forget.

I could list them out, but I really only have about 750 words for this article, so why waste my time and my editor's putting words in that won't get read? Instead, I'm going to go broad with my forgiveness list and let you filter between the lines to specific events you may or may not remember.

I forgive you for ...

  1. Not letting me watch certain TV shows that really wouldn't have done anything for building my character.
  2. Incessantly talking about other people behind their back. As I grow older, I see I'm as guilty as you with that.
  3. Scaring the crap out of me with your immaturity as adults, which enabled me to see my own immaturity in a new light as an adult.
  4. Talking out of both sides of your mouth. It's just a human trait and nobody is perfect, right?
  5. Labeling me as a "rebel," which I actually now wear as a badge of pride.
  6. Not embracing me in my sexuality. You have a right to your values, as do I.
  7. Doing stupid things that caused me to lose parts of my childhood. In reality, I never lost my childhood; I lived in reality.
  8. Showing me the ugly sides of relationships so I could appreciate the beauty of the muck that binds a relationship.
  9. Being hypocritical so I could clearly see the difference between criticism and hypocrisy.
  10. Making my life feel unstable so I could learn to adapt to any situation.
  11. Not unconditionally loving me the way I desired so I could learn to appreciate that everyone defines unconditional love differently.
  12. At times, giving me less than others in our lives so I could appreciate that less is more.
  13. Standing your ground in your values so I could learn to stand my ground in my values.
  14. Being crazy in your actions so that when I'm crazy in my actions reflecting in my life mirror, I can stop the madness.
  15. Hurting each other in front of me so I could learn the valuable lesson that hurt goes well below skin deep.
  16. Twisting things to your advantage, enabling me to see that having an advantage doesn't always mean you win.

Now, before you accuse me of grandstanding and putting all our family dirty laundry out in the public eye for viewing, I'm doing this for a reason. I'm forgiving you because everything that I've listed—and much, much more—I'm also guilty of in some way as a parent. Just saying those words brought that damn lump into my throat and a trickle of tears to my eyes.

The bottom line is that I don't want to live with regrets, nor do I want to read 5, 10, 20 years from now a blog post from your granddaughters (my daughters) about how they forgive me for doing them wrong. Yes, that might be karma coming back to haunt me, but I'm really trying to put good karma forward first.

To wrap things up, here's the one I simply can't find a way to forgive. I've tried, but I simply can't bring myself to do it. I can't forgive you for being human. You're simply human, just like me.

Happy National Forgive Mom and Dad Day.

Your son,
Little Rickey

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