Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oma's Naked Truth

I'm not who you think I am.
I cover up a lot.

I met a new friend who asked me about my seven kids. I didn't brag—I just told her about them as I see them. "You have angel kids, and you're an angel mother!" she said. "No, no I'm not," I insisted. "And they've never been angelic either." That's the naked truth.

I was a bratty kid. I sassed my dad, swore at my mom, behaved selfishly toward my sibs—this was all pointed out to me at the time, but I was secretly proud of being a rebel. I admit I was virtuous deep down—no illicit drinking, drugs or hoodlum friends, but my conduct was unbecoming toward the people I should have been nicest to.

Then I grew up. I discovered a whole new dimension to parenthood, and my admiration of moms and dads everywhere grew to gigantic proportions. However, as far as my own mom and dad were concerned, I maintained a certain amount of my childish attitude. 

When they moved out of the house where I was raised into their dream house, I scoffed inwardly. I would never feel comfortable in their new place, I told myself. They may have  abandoned my childhood, but I wouldn't, I vowed. So, when my kids fondly remember playing at grandma's house, with all the connecting rooms, halls and stairs to explore, I have proud memories of holding myself aloof. After all, it wasn't my house.  Silly? Self-centered? It's the naked truth and it isn't pretty.

I'd like to say I turned into an angel daughter in time to lighten the burdens of my parents in their old age—I'd planned to. Unfortunately they didn't live to an old age. They became real angels before I got around to becoming angelic. Amazingly, they loved me anyway. They loved me to pieces and I knew it. And obviously, I was no angel.

That's what got passed on to my kids. They are loved by the way, anyway, and every way, just like I was.  All my summer schools and teaching tricks, all the Oma kits and newsletter tips are fun fluff, worthwhile in their way. But when a child feels secure in an atmosphere of unconditional love, they let their inner angel peek out. My parents saw mine, in spite of all I did to hide it. Those moments are when a home becomes heaven on earth (for a moment.) Families need a foundation of love—a firm foundation.

The truth is that all families sag in the middle at times: weighty problems creep up, bums bounce around all day, life is the unrazored pits—it can stink. But those wobbly bits can be held together with the right amount of elasticity—give and take. Tight control in some spots and self control in others. I see no dishonesty in covering up the parts that nobody else should see.

Most important: when looking for flaws, don't use a magnifying mirror.
That alone will make you an angel mother—
and that's the naked truth.


Diane said...


Off the subject: I remember watching my grandmother make her way into a girdle/bra like your middle picture. It was completely fascinating to me.

Grandma Cebe said...

I never would have guessed that you kicked against the pricks and had a rebellious side. Thanks for sharing this.

Raejean said...

My oldest daughter is to be a mother soon. She pointed out the naked truth recently. I prefer to keep my clothes on! The naked truth stings a bit.

Christie said...

Beautifully said, Oma.

Astyn said...

Beautifully written. I hope I can be easier on my parents before they become 'angels' too.

The Harrison Crew said...

i loved this. i tried to be a rebel in my own way too, and now can't believe my parents even put up with my antics. in fact, i think all parents everywhere are pretty amazing for even trying to mold & shape these little people who come into their families. lately, when i'm feeling discouraged about my lack of parenting perfection, i just remember that the best i can do is try hard, pray a lot, and love my little girl as much as i can. i hope the rest will come with time.

thanks for your posts. i love reading your stuff...

the wrath of khandrea said...

now i see why i've liked you from the start. i am you.

missy said...

"I see no dishonesty in covering up the parts that nobody else should see." Loved that! (Loved the whole post, really.)

Soul-Fusion said...

love this post - especially the timing since I just sent my mother home after a week-long stay and those last two days I was far from angelic. Why is it so hard to be good to the people we love the most?