Family / Memories / Motherhood

Love and Parental Patterns

photo by Lance Shields

Wouldn’t it be great to have a perfect childhood? I’m sure we all have failed hopes from our parents. Maybe they were overbearing, or distant, or embarrassing. Maybe we wanted more hugs, more words of encouragement, or more time together. Children have higher expectations from their parents than from anyone else. It’s a lot of pressure when you think about it. If you’re lucky, your childhood was all you dreamed it would be.  And, you’re in the minority. People follow patterns… and perfection is for all intents and purposes, non-existent. It’s natural that our parents simply did what they knew to do.  Sometimes more, sometimes less. People only love well when they know what it is like to be well-loved. It is impossible to do otherwise.

I tend to think about all the things I wanted more of from my parents, and I tend to view them from that perspective. My ability to love them well is often hindered by my failed expectations. And that is the tragedy of my selfish nature. An even greater tragedy is having the ability to love well and not using it. And that has more to do with pride than a lack of being perfect. So, what do we do with our disappointments from our parents? Forget them? Probably not. Forgive them? Hopefully. I like to think we can turn those desires to be loved into determinations to love. And in particular, to love those who probably need it most – those who never knew how to love us well.


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