My viewpoint on the reference of "parent" is probably a bit skewed. I define "parent" as someone active in my life, always there when I'm questioning decisions and need advice, that will happily drop what they are doing to have a relationship with me; whether that be over the phone, visiting, traveling, emailing, or writing letters. A parent is someone I trust and confide in, that I value and feel valuable in return. A parent brings out the best in me and never judges my worst. Well, maybe judges, but still loves me anyway. :-)
I have several people in my life that i consider parents, or at least parental figures that have been important individuals. They may have not biologically made me, but they have made me into who I am today, which is just as important.
We'll start with the assumable parent; my Mom. I'm lucky that I have such a supportive mother. She's always the first to be my biggest cheerleader, always there for big events, always wanting to be involved in my and Terry's life. She's so reliable and dedicated and loves me unconditionally as I love her unconditionally.
All of those great qualities really make me feel like a bad daughter sometimes however, because as wonderful and nurturing as she is to me, I keep a very safe distance between us. To say that my mom and I have had a bumpy ride is an understatement. It's just not an easy relationship. I'm her only child, and my Mom has never been married my entire 27 years of life, so in no way am I meaning this to sound self-centered, but I am all that she has as far as a family she has built. Where things get difficult for me lies with boundaries, or lack of boundaries. The closer she wants to get, the further I push back. I think it may have to do with growing up, but I'd probably need a shrink for that and, well, there are things higher on my priority list for shrink-talk. We fought a lot growing up. I lived with her 90% of the time, other than seeing my Dad every other weekend. I try my best to focus on all the good memories and good times, but the bad memories and chaos always make me apprehensive and nervous. As I've grown older, I understand more that my moms anger at me all those years was out of her control. I was/am not at fault for how she reacts to her emotions, but little nicks turn into scratches that turn into wounds over time. I still am working on understanding this and being at peace with it. But back to boundaries, of the few people that know about this blog....my mom is not one of them. Again, let us return to the guilty daughter statement. I don't want it to or mean it to do this, but when or if the day comes that she finds out about the blog, I think she will be very hurt. It's issues with boundaries that keeps me from nonchalantly bringing it up to her. Terry and I talk about it all from time to time and it's comforting hearing his perspective. At the end of the day, we love each other and I am thankful for her always. Some people don't have Mom's to love and to talk to and to be mad at and to feel guilty over. It's not a perfect relationship, but it's unconditional. I'll always be there for her and she'll always be there for me.
My next parent is Susan. Susan is my older brothers' Mom. She is by far one of the best women I know. When I really sit back and take time to mull it over, it gets me choked up that she had every right to hate my existence; instead she opted to love me like one of her own. If you've never met Susan, I think that clearly explains her character. She's wise beyond her years and a wealth of knowledge. I always trust that she's going to give it to me straight if I'm questioning something, and she's always level headed and calm, which seems to bring me peace. I love the time we get to share together, and I value her as a strong, independent, beautiful woman in my life. I love her dearly.
Tim and Amy Finley are parents for me. When people ask who the Finleys are, I tell them they are my second family. Other than my older brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Amy really established for me what a happy, healthy, married couple consists of. Their respect and adoration of one another has provided a precedent for what I want for myself in a relationship.
Where I am surrounded by strong, loyal women in my life, Tim has taken the helm on the male role-model ship. He treats me like I'm his daughter, and I just simply can't ever thank him enough for wanting me in his and his families life. He has dealt with a lot of my crap and has always unconditionally been there to try and help me. He gives me a perspective that only a man can provide and concern and interest that shows how much he cares. Recently, I got a letter in the mail from Tim that brought me to tears. It's the little things sometimes that mean so much. I value and love them so much.
Finally, Terry's Mom and Dad are my parents. Since the day we met they have allowed me in their lives with open arms. It's a long distance relationship unfortunately, in that we haven't had an extensive amount of time together to grow our relationship, but I always tell Deloris that we have to pack it all in with a punch, like a highly concentrated pack of tea rather than a 10-day sweating in the sun sweet tea.
I love my phone conversations with Deloris. She fills me in here and there with beautiful little snippets of Terry that fill me with happiness. I admire his parents 40+ years of marriage as week. They have set a great example for a lasting love.
Im a very lucky woman to have the parents in my life that i do. I try to show and tell my appreciation as often as possible.