Grateful for my parents

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I am grateful for my parents

I am so grateful now for my parents and their contribution to my life.  When I took part in a workshop recently and realised that part of the work involved thanking our parents I was very uncomfortable and couldn’t think what I would thank them for. One of the insights I came away with is that, as a result of my upbringing, I grew up to be a strong independent woman able to look after herself in trying circumstances.

My childhood was not the happiest and, as a parent and grandparent now, I would not want them to have the same experience as mine.  I recall now that my house was either very quiet or very noisy because they were either arguing and shouting or not speaking to each other.

I grew up in a fearful atmosphere never knowing when a new row would break out or something would cause one or both of them to be upset and angry.  I can’t say that they took it out on us directly but, knowing what I know now, I realise that we were affected emotionally which can be as painful as being directly attacked or shouted at.

I also have an awareness that this fearful atmosphere didn’t just start at birth but was present before birth. One experience I had during a training workshop really highlighted this for me.  We were shown a video of a baby still in the womb with the sound of people arguing in the background.  Although the sound was muffled and the words weren’t clear, the feelings of anger and upset is obvious.  At one point one voice shouts loudly and the baby jumps while still in the womb.

When I saw this and the reaction of the unborn baby I found myself crying and realised that this possibly or probably happened to me while I was still in the womb so one of my early experiences is that the world is not a safe place but somewhere to be feared.

So what am I so grateful for?  I had Jamaican parents who were unhappy most of the time.   My dad did his own thing in almost every sense of the word and I have recently found out that, as well as our family of 6 children, I have up to 30 half brothers and sisters.  He really sowed his oats having fathered his first child at 19 and the last one when he was in his sixties.

My mum was unhappy!  Before her grandchildren came along I can’t really remember her being happy about very much at all which feels really sad.  She came to England from Jamaica in 1954 having left her firstborn son behind with her parents.  We were never told very much about why she came, what she expected and so on.  One thing she did say was that she came to get away from my dad which was interesting especially as he arrived not very long afterwards.

Their lives and experiences contributed to me being the person I am today. I must just tell you also that, when I was told many years ago that we chose our parents for this life, my response was an expletive!  I could not and would not believe that I had chosen these two unhappy people to bring me into this world.  Why had I not chosen happy parents and had a happier life?  I now realise more about why I did choose them and the lessons I have learned and continue to learn from the experience.

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