Parents can often be tormentors, well meaning, good intentioned, hopeful, but tormentors none the less. When my son was a toddler I would often sing the chorus of this song when he wanted something that was just not doable for whatever the reason was. I sang and he hated it. Much like I hated his whining over said item. Turnabout is fair play, thats what my mom always said.
A few years later, when he was not much older I was in the throes of simultaneous addictions and seriously bad decisions, he heard me fighting with my parents over said addictions and bad decisions. He looked up at me, big brown and gold flecked eyes under a tow head mop and asked why we were fighting. I tried to explain to him that we love each other and sometimes when you care about someone and they do something you don’t agree with it hurts your feelings. It hurts your heart and your head, because you don’t want anything bad to happen to them and so you fight. Not because your mad but because you care.
He spoke softly in his sweet six year old voice and said, “But it’s your life Mom. How can they get mad at you for living it?” It stopped me in my tracks. The simple undeniable logic of it. It’s been over a decade since that conversation, my tender 6 year old is now only a few years younger than I was when we had that little talk. We’ve been fighting a lot lately, because I don’t agree with what he thinks, what he wants, with his decisions or lack thereof. We fight because “I know what’s best” and “if only he would just listen”. We fight because we care about him. We fight because he’s just like me. Last night, as his father and I tried to make sense of him, his actions, his life and I remembered his words.
He was right then, and he is right now. It’s his life, how can I get mad at him for living it? How can I expect him to not have lessons to learn, even if I am only playing Mama Bear and trying to shield him? How can I expect him to want what I want for him, when I didn’t want what my parents had hoped for me, at least not at that time? I can’t promise that I won’t get hurt, or angry. I can’t promise that we won’t fight again. But what I do know, what I have learned is you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.