Growing up my parents fed me, clothed me, gave me pocket money, drove me to wherever I needed to go, they encouraged my educational pursuits, they did the whole Santa thing and they even opened a packet of chocolate biscuits for dessert on a Sunday night (the ultimate). They could be giving and loving in all these ways but I always felt a yearning for more.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing or perhaps it was the way my parents were raised or perhaps it’s just the way that they are, but they were never overly affectionate parents. Never did they lathered me in cuddles or gave me a squeeze on the shoulder just ‘cos or give me a rub on my back when I was unwell. Equally their words weren’t gushing with affection either.
In recent years I’ve considered the lack of conversations discussing feelings and emotions between my parents and I and how I longed for an open and free dialogue and an innate sense of understanding. Of course there wasn’t time to dwell on feelings in our household where there was constant hard work to be done but I wish I could have spoken candidly to these people who were supposed to care the most. I do believe that this is the case by the way, that they did and do care enormously but their inability to openly talk about emotions or feelings as individuals became a barrier in their parenting. A barrier between them and ultimately their child.
For this reason I have always felt my parents are somewhat detached and don’t entirely understand who I am. The very chore and essence that is Vicki. Sure, they know what I’ve achieved and the practicalities of my day to day life but they have no clue what my inner dialogue or emotional voice is. How I feel about the world, what makes me sad or happy, what emotional struggles I’ve lived. I’ve been more open with mere acquaintances. I’d even suggest that you my readers have more of an idea of me as an emotional character.
Still to this day when I talk to them I list off what I have being doing. The activities only. Never the honest, raw truth about how I feel about those things. Not the fact that I am feeling completely and utterly depleted by motherhood. That I feel frustrated by certain relationships, that I feel lonely sometimes, that I feel three steps behind and beaten by my own to do list and that sometimes I want more. That perhaps their help at home with the kids is precisely what I need but oh how hard it is to ask for it because of all this emotional barrier stuff that they’ve created.
I had an epitome the other day during which I was able to spit these words out to Mr Vick. I resent my parents for not allowing me to need them more. I’ve wanted them to play a closer role in my life. I want the detached feeling to be null and void. I don’t want to look at my friends and their parents and think, yeah, I want those guys as my parents because they can talk together. Really talk.
Sometimes I wonder if all of this could have been avoided if a few simple words were said to me when I was a child. Three simple words. I love you. Still to this day I cannot recall them ever saying that to me. I know they do of course but nothing should ever just be a given or presumed especially not between a child and their parents.
My parents never realised the power of their words or rather the impact of the words left unsaid.
As an adult, I still need to hear those words but know not to wait for them. There’s a little bit inside of me even as a capable and emotionally equipped adult that feels a bit hollow because those three frickin’, simple words were never given to me.
Whilst I feel up in arms about my relationship with my parents it has taught me exactly how I need to parent my boys. Those words will never go unspoken in this house although sometimes I fear I do hold my cards close to my heart. That’s the way I was conditioned to operate but I don’t want to replicate the relationship I’ve had with my parents now with my boys so I have work on it always and make the effort which will ultimately foster that kind of warm dialogue and openness that I desire.
The other night I jumped in beside Little Vick, in his toddler bed, and lay with him in the quiet before he drifted off to sleep. I turned and looked at him and told him that I loved him more than the lovely sparkling stars, much more than the spectacular silver moon that shines so bright and much much more than the great powerful shining sun. That he is so much more beautiful than all those things. It was corny and mushy but I needed to talk on his level and I knew I hit the spot when he turned to me and his little eyes glowed with worth. He pulled me close and said “I like you forever and ever and ever mummy”.
I knew in that moment, despite my own hang ups, I was doing alright. I am being the parent I need to be. I am being the parent I want to be. There will be no barriers here. There will only be an open avenue for words and honesty and always a home for my boys to come back to and divulge their souls, no matter how big they grow. I will always be available if they want me to be. They will always know my parental love because the lasting stamp on a child’s heart is not just the cuddles, the glow of adoration in their parents eyes but their words. The words which are an affirmation which concrete their sense of worth and validity in their existence and don’t they deserve that?
Do you tell you children you love them?
Were/are you able to speak frankly about emotions with your parents?