Focus on the Past

Your kid is your kid and wherever they take you, you go.” -The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan

I am in the midst of reading The Middle Place as I mentioned last week. It is different than the lighter, chick flick literary works I normally gravitate towards. I knew I would enjoy it but I am amazed how much I can identify with it on different levels. Her story is not my story but her relationship with her parents, especially her Dad reminds me of myself in many ways. Every once in awhile there is a quote that really zings me. The above is exactly that. This probably won’t be the last time I quote this book either.

Growing up Sister K and I were always busy with activities. Dance classes, baton twirling, gymnastics, cheerleading, tennis lessons, swim lessons. At some point in our childhood we participated in one of the above. We were never very musical but Sister K did have dreams of becoming Wynona Judd on her guitar from the ages of about 7 to 11. 

Our fun-filled-chaotic childhood would not have been possible without the support of my parents. Mom and Dad were a team. Mom did most of the chauffering but Dad also did pick up too. On the weekends if there was a performance or a competition they were there. They were cheering us on. They were doing this in many ways for the reason in the quote above, we were their girls and wherever our dreams wanted to take us, they were coming along too. I don’t imagine Sister K or I would be the two women we are today without those activities and without Mom and Dad’s support and sacrifices. This is a fact not lost on me at all.

Recently though I have been thinking about Mom and Dad and the parent team they have led for so long. Mom’s MS is changing the dynamics of the team. Dad is playing more of a lead role while Mom is on the sidelines a bit more. It is hard watching this transition. It honestly just occurred to me last weekend as I was sitting and talking with Dad that in many ways he has the entire responsibility of this family on him. He is becoming the primary parent. Mom is still very involved but it is different. MS is limiting what she can and cannot do. It is limiting her involvement physically and mentally as well. As the story goes with all things MS, my family is changing.

I am struggling with these changes to my family dynamic. A dynamic I have been a part of for the past 28 years of my life. A dynamic I love. Lately it seems to be getting more difficult. My patience is wearing thin. My frustration is showing more. The “why me’s” are being said more often. But this quote made me pause and think. It helped me take a minute to remember the past and think that maybe I need to focus on it at times. To cherish my childhood more. To hold on to the memories. And to not forget how it once was. I know it will never be that way again. In forcing myself to think about and really remember my childhood it can help me in the way I view Mom. It can help me to focus more on her as Mom and not Mom with MS. MS seems to be impacting my view of her more and it shouldn’t. I am struggling with that. I need to continue to find a way to not alter the way I view my relationship with Mom because of MS. I know our relationship is changing but I need to do what I can to minimize those changes where possible.

What was your childhood like? What kind of activities did you participate in? Do you think it is easy to forget all the sacrifices your parents made for you as you get older and they get older too? How do you handle changes in family dynamics? Any fellow ex-baton twirlers out there? Let me just say Husband thought my baton twirling days were hysterical when we first started dating.

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