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OT – Throwback Thursday

Aniki's picture

Some of my coworkers and I were discussing “learning” moments from our parents during childhood. I have two that really stand out for me.

MOM
My parents often told stories of their childhoods. Naturally, the good stories were told many times! My favorite Mom story was when she was about 10yo. She, her mother, and sisters were invited to a lady’s home for tea and embroidery. The lady offered around a dish of candy. Mom, loooooooving chocolate more than any other food, took the biggest piece. She bit into it to discover it was marzipan, which she absolutely loathed. She discreetly dropped the candy on the floor, hoping the dog would eat it (she did not know that chocolate was bad for dogs). The lady noticed and said, “Oh, honey, you dropped your candy! Let me get you another piece.” And gave Mom the second-biggest piece on the plate, which Mom was then forced to eat. This may be a silly little story, but it was definitely a learning experience about greed and that Bigger Is Not Always Better.

DAD
As a teenager, I was the Black Sheep of the family. I had little respect for rules and was determined to do/have what I wanted, when I wanted it. I was definitely He!! On Wheels and am certain I was responsible for the majority of Mom’s gray hairs. At 16, I majorly effed up. Not saying what I did, but I was in BIIIIIG trouble. Mom was at wit’s end. Dad took me outside (I was seriously thinking that 16 was no longer too old for a whoopin’), sat me down, and looked at me quietly for what felt like FOREVER. When Dad gives you The Look it conveys EVERYTHING: Sadness, disappointment, the knowledge that you let him down when you know better – it’s 10000x more effective than ANY punishment. When he finally spoke, he said, “I’m so disappointed in you (I died inside). You’re grounded for 6 months.” He continued to look at me with that grave countenance for a few more minutes before he spoke again. “Look, Whoozit (his special nickname for me), I know you’re going to make mistakes and THAT’S OKAY. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!?!?!) I only ask that you try to learn from them. And if you’re ever in trouble, I will always be here for you.” That did it. That totally cemented my deep, abiding respect for my Dad and proved to me what a great man he was (still is). Who knew it was okay to make a mistake??

Comments

Cover1W's picture

You have great parents!  My stories:

MOM - well, I am not sure I learned much from her really.  She doesn't talk about her childhood much at all.  In fact, I cannot remember ANY stories she's ever told about her childhood.  I think she had at least one narcissistic parent (suspect her mother) and one very controlling one OR one controlling one and one submissive/scared.  It was always wierd in my grandparent's home.  My mother is a narcissist and after figuring that out, everything fell into place.  I think the most I get from this relationship was ALWAYS how to be independent from her and not need her.  I never went to her with problems or questions.  She did require my sister and I to help clean the house so there's that, I learned how to be responsible for my own things and how to assist with the general house stuff that benefitted everyone.  We also lived on a horse farm so I cared for my own horse and helped with all the others - I want a horse, I do the work.

DAD - he's the one who talked with me about dating, boys, getting a job, managing school and sports, college, and who was the go-between (and still is) between me and my mother.  While he wasn't a great male role model, he did encourage me to be smart, get what I want and do things (within the frame of 'acceptable women's roles' - but I never suscribed to that) I wanted to do.  I think he and my mother should have divorced once my sister and I were out of the house, but unfortuately he's still with her and always will be - so that's a lesson for me too; don't stick around in an unhappy marriage.  One learning moment with him was me crying over some boy that liked my younger sister better (talk about horrible experiences), he gave me a good talking to about my studies being more important and being independent and not needing anyone.  That always stuck with me.

Aniki's picture

Cover, those are valuable lessons indeed!!

Mom made sure that all of her children could cook. Good thing, because both of my brothers married women who canNOT.

I wish more people would teach children about the true responsibilities of caring for animals. Too many children grow up seeing a pet as an expendable instead of a life that requires time and care.

classyNJ's picture

MOM:  My mom was a single mother of three.  For two years she raised us from a hospital bed in our living room with the help of my grandmother.  In 1975 they told her she shouldn't be working but took on a third job to make ends meet and never once complained.  I remember times when I was about 8 we would go to bed and would smell popcorn.  I would get so mad because she saved the fun stuff for after we went to bed.  It wasn't until I was about 18 that my sister told me the reason she ate popcorn so much is because there wasn't enough dinner for the four of us so she would feed us and go without.  It really opened my eyes to how hard she worked, how strong she was and still was able to raise us with a strict hand but was so loving.  

Dad:  Mean drunk that liked to hit mom.  Great musician and famous in our little area from late 60's to early 80's.  Only saw him about 5 times after splitting with my mom at the age of 5.  Taught me that I never needed a man.  Oh wait - my mom taught me that too.   *biggrin* 

 

 

DaizyDuke's picture

Omg your "mom" story legit has me sitting in my office with tears in my eyes, hoping nobody picks this moment to come see me.  What a beautiful soul your mom has!  Give rose

classyNJ's picture

LOL   yup.  My mom is 74 and still does it.  I asked her how she felt the other day about me turning 50.  Her answer was "I'm worried that you are old"  She is a hoot

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Idk if mine are quite the normal ones. LOL

MOM
She told me I wasn't ever going to be beautiful when I was a kid (that's the short version), I still remember it to this day and it sent me into some self-confidence issues. Because of that I make sure to tell the girls they're beautiful and unique and strong, because I refuse to EVER cause someone else to have to go through that, among other things. But it helped me realize what kind of a person I wanted to be and how I wanted to treat others.

DAD
I had a rough childhood with my parents, but when I finally confronted them about it all and we started to make amends and repair a VERY damaged relationship, my dad was the first one to accept it and apologize. He showed me that it's okay to recognize that you've done wrong, and to truly feel sorry. It also taught me to be a bit more humble and that others don't always realize what kind of damage they're doing until it's brought to their attention. To them they were just raising my black sheep a$$ strict, whereas to me it was causing actual damage that I didn't get through until later. Honestly his absolute apology and how sincere he was and how hard he worked to repair the relationship was why i even worked at it and why I still talk to my parents. Because during therapy, and learning about what emotional abuse was, I was ready to completely severe ties, she had warned that I could repeat the cycle, I decided I never wanted kids, and i was going to leave and basically start over without communication to them, for me that was making sure that I never did to others what had been done to me. But he showed me how to be humble and sincere and what that really means.

All that being said, things are better with them, i still can't be with them for more than a day or two at a time, but we worked hard, and while I don't think either side will ever really forget, I think we've forgiven enough to keep communication open.

Aniki's picture

Wow, PA! That certainly shows that people can be so engrossed in believing that what they're doing is right, they cannot see the wrong. {{{hugs}}}

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Yes they are! But it's all good now! Also everything taught me to see people realistically. I don't see rainbows and unicorns if all there is is a f-cking toad. Of course no one normally listens to me until later, then they're all surprised after MONTHS of me telling them EXACTLY what's up. LMAO

Aniki's picture

Why are people always so darn surprised when they finally realize that the toad is a toad? How can they be so blind to all of the BS they pull?

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Blind optomism... Thinking there's no way they'd do that. Or for a lot of our DHs... Because they love their kids, they assume that BM must love them and care to do right by them just as much as him.. Then when it's proven false they're confused.

Aniki's picture

Oh, not just the BMs. I'm talking about people who have friends who are toxic POS. The POS may be nice to the friend, but they are toxic to everyone else and the friend refuses to believe it - even when they witness it firsthand over and over. Crazy!

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Seen that too! I was just thinking of an example! I think people are blinded by expectation vs. reality.

queensway's picture

I am late to the game today. Crazy day. PA I just wanted to tell you that you are BEAUTIFUL my dear!

DaizyDuke's picture

MOM:  my mother is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet.  I really don't ever remember her yelling at me or spanking me, but yet I still respected her.  My dad left when I was around 2 or 3 and mom worked her tail off from the age of 18 at different jobs in the same hospital:  purchasing, central service and finally Operating Room)  and retired after 40 years there.  One of the things she always drilled into my head was that she did NOT like liars and that I should never lie to her or anyone.  One day when I was in 3rd grade, I decided I didn't want to go to school and I lied and told mom I didn't feel good.  She let me stay home.  By later that afternoon, I really did NOT feel good and ended up with the chicken pox and was out of school for almost 2 weeks.  I was CERTAIN that this was my punishment for lying and never lied again for a really long time (until I became a bratty teenager). 

DAD:  My dad left my mom when I was 2 or 3 and moved across the country.  He remarried and has 2 step kids that he treats as his own.  Even though he has lived really far away for the majority of my life, we still have a decent relationship and he comes out to visit as often as he can (usually every 3 years or so) My dad was a hard worker who served 3 years in the military and retired from the Sheriff Department as a Captain (at age 41), took a year off, then went back to work as a Parole Officer and got a second retirement when he retired from there at age 62.  He is finally truly "retired" and enjoying life.  If anything, he has taught me to be a hard worker and to go after what you want.  

ESMOD's picture

My mom was definitely ahead of her time.  She was always one to stubbornly do what she wanted to do.  When she graduated HS her dad wanted her to go to secretary school.  She wanted to go to college.  He made her take the test for the clerical school and she failed it.... on purpose.  So.. she went off to Radcliff (sister school to Harvard in the day).

She also told me when I was 14 that she wasn't going to punish me any more.... so of course I am thinking YESSSS.  But she went on to say that I was getting to the age where my actions would have consequences on me that might not be fixable and have lasting impact on my life.  If I chose to not study.. that meant I wouldn't get a good education.. she already had both an undergrad and a graduate degree.  If I did drugs or something illegal.. I would be in trouble with the law and my parents couldn't fix that for me and I would have a record.  Same type of thing regarding having a child out of wedlock etc... Basically her point was that my parents had what they had through good choices they made.  That I would have decisions to make and the consequences would be mine to bear and worse than any punishment they could give me.

My dad... I'm not sure I recall too many specific lessons from him.  He is a judgemental guy so would have been the parent to criticize.  In fact, he recently told my YSD that he was surprised I had passed the CPA exam on the first try when I took it.  I guess I felt I didn't 100% measure up to whatever his expectation were...or are.  Of course, now that he has been needing assistance.. who is the one to help?  me..lol.  Maybe in a way I learned from him that I was more capable than other people might think.. and to not let other people's judgment limit me. 

Aniki's picture

ESMOD, your Mom certainly gave you some powerful messages!

As for your Dad... to me, it is certainly a case of someone teaching you how you do NOT want to be. Sort of like a bad friend showing you what NOT to do to be a good friend. KWIM?

Merry's picture

MOM. She was the disciplinarian and rulemaker in our house. I was the youngest, and what I learned was how not to get caught. Not that I never got caught, just not as much as my older siblings. :)  Seriously, good grades and hard work, including chores, were an expectation. I am grateful, above everything else, for a good education.

DAD: He was a badass Marine, but he was scared to death of his children. Wouldn't/couldn't discipline us or make us live up to our responsibilities. Dad wasn't a Disney parent either, though. Just deferred all decisions to my Mom. He worked hard, provided for the family well, and loved us in his way. I do remember in middle school and later he would read the same books I was reading in school. That was pretty cool.

Aniki's picture

So you learned to be sneaky, huh? LOL

No Disney parents for my siblings and me! Mom taught us all how to work hard to cook and keep a home, so a homemaker ethic. Dad was the disciplinarian and taught us about having a work ethic, Both had high expectations of us in school. I am the one kid who read books that both of my parents read.

witch.hazel's picture

In the fourth grade some girls and I had a club we called "The Bad Girls", and our thing was to steal. We first stole classroom supplies from teachers, and then buried them. Next, we stole from downtown stores. There were three of us on that crime spree, and we took identical items from each store. One friend insisted I keep hers, so I had two of everything. My parents found my stash of stolen goods in my room, and my dad, who was a teacher, came and took me out of lunch to his classroom. He said he was so embarrassed by my actions that he wanted to move away. He wanted to know who else was involved, and why I had two of everything. I told him the other girls' names, and he instructed me to tell them to come see him in his classroom after school. They, of course, went home and did not see him. So, he made me pack up everything that was stolen and we went to each girls house and I had to help him tell their parents! I remember one girl crying while chewing on a fork since we interrupted their dinner. We were all grounded and had to return the things to the stores. Each of us had one store to return things to (we had to divide them up as to where we got them). When I was about to go talk to the manager of my store, my dad let me go and just put the bag of things inside and leave. I was so grateful for that. I never did anything like that again.

Aniki's picture

Wow, witch! Wow!! Did you ever talk to those girls after that?

I remember when (also in fourth grade) I took a pack of gum and was about to slip it into my pocket. My Dad, very quietly, said, "Put that gum back NOW. You're grounded for a month." That ended my life of crime!