One of the hardest parts of growing up is reconciling the ideal we have of our parents with the reality of who our parents actually are. When we’re young we see our parents as infallible, and that hero worship makes us think they can do no wrong. We expect them to be as amazing as they were when all we needed in life were naps, playdates, and bedtime stories. But as we grow older, we also grow more difficult and more aware.
It becomes easier for us to spot the chinks in their armor. We begin to demand more from our parents, without even intending it. From scraped knees to broken hearts, bullies, and insecurities, our hurts and problems turn more complicated. Every time they falter and don’t know what to do we start to doubt a little more. Every time their comfort just isn’t enough we ask why they aren’t enough. We think, maybe, they don’t know everything.
They are reduced to mere mortals from the gods we used to think they were. The enduring patience, kindness, and love that they used to exude are chipped away with every fight you have with them, with every thoughtless phrase that you’re old enough to understand. There is shock and confusion at how they could hurt us in such a way. We see that they can get things wrong, too.
The hints of darkness scare us more than we’d like to admit. Our parents’ flaws and shortcomings are easier to see the more mature we grow, the abler we are to see them for what they actually are. Maybe it’s short-temperedness, or pride, or bitterness — whatever it is, we realize our parents are damaged too.
It’s hard to get over the fact that your parents aren’t the perfect picture of what you once thought they were. These are the people who brought you into the world and who taught you everything but at the end of the day, the fact that they’re imperfect just like everyone else? It hurts.
But as we all grow into the ages our parents were when they had us it becomes so much easier to bridge that gap of disappointment. It’s easier to accept that they too are only human. They have their faults, some more than others, but they tried their best. And that’s all anyone can really ask for.
What are your thoughts on this?