For as long as I can remember there has always been friction between me and my mother. My parents were divorced when I turned 13, I found out that the plan was to wait until I was Bar Mitzvah (turn 13) and then my father would move out of our basement, he moved down there because he snored too loud (how dumb do parents think their children are?) and find a place of his own. I was a rebel as a child…still am…and don’t you think this fueled me even more. I am grateful for how some of the things of my past set the stage for me to become the person I am now. I know that the relationship that I have with my children is a direct result of me not ever wanting them to feel the way that I did. Like things as disheartening as looking for my parents on parents day, or when I played sports or was on stage, or whenever just seeing them come to something that I was involved in would have meant the world to me, but they never showed. I kicked a 42 yard field goal varsity football game on parents day to put us ahead and eventually win the game…one of my most prized, happiest moments and my parents were not even there to share it with. “Your parents must be so proud” I heard at least a dozen times after the game…I’m sure they would have been… If only they knew the sadness, the loneliness that statement triggered…I won’t ever forget that feeling. Even while being at those events for my children those feelings came rolling back. I would spot a child searching the audience for their parents…the sadness I felt watching them search…the hopefulness I had for them that they would spot their parents, that their parents would understand how important it is to their children for them to be there for them…the happiness I felt when their faces lit up knowing that they found them and the sadness I felt for those that never did. All we want is just that little bit of pride, that little bit of recognition for that little bit of time while we are in the spotlight that maybe we are not as big of a disappointment, as big of a failure to our parents as we think we are.
I am actively working on improving myself and the relationship with my incredible wife as well, she is living 5 hours away trying to finish out her career. The balance between family is very difficult to maintain especially as we spread out. I have rekindled the relationship with my father and Eileen (my incredible wife) refers to him as “the smartest man in the world.” Dad is always there for us lately and makes no demands on our time, actually he appreciates whatever amount of time we can spare to share with him. My mother, on the other hand, has proven to be a difficult situation. I reach out constantly to her but can only explain her attitude toward me as one of me never doing enough, spending enough time with her, giving her enough notice, calling her enough… I’m asked why I keep putting myself in this situation, why do I keep calling and reaching out fully knowing and understanding that I am only asking for condemnation, sarcasm, attitude and belittlement from her, not love, caring and understanding. While I have asked myself those same questions over and over and over again, today in my reading of “Trusting God day by day” by Joyce Meyer, I found what I believe to be an answer; Never Give Up On Those You Love. I could not endure the conflict that characterized our relationship. I believe that God spoke to my heart and told me: “Don’t give up on your mother.” If you are believing for someone you love to change their behavior, keep believing that change is possible. Do not give up on the ones that you love; as long as you continue believing, God can keep working. Your love and patience may be exactly what they need to make a complete turnaround. Love never fails. In other words, it never gives up on people. The apostle Paul describes what love is and mentions that love always believes the best; it is positive and filled with faith and hope. God is love and He never gives up on us. Let’s choose to live with that same attitude. Believe in the power of love to change and transform anything and anyone. If you are tempted to give up on something or someone, put your trust in God and believe that even if you don’t have the power to change the circumstances, He does.