Thursday, November 05, 2009

Talk Thursday: Mea Culpa

Having failed Spanish through out school, I never attempted Latin or Legalese. So I had to look up Mea Culpa. Yes, that is the Girl Scout’s honest truth, while I’ve tried to own up to my guilt(s) through out my adult life, I have stayed away from most acts carrying potential legal ramifications – ergo, I’ve never been faced with Mea Culpa and had to swear an oath on a stack of Bibles.

I pondered…nope can’t admit to that one. I contemplated… Oh, no no…that one is off limits. Hmmm, ohmigawd my daughter reads this I’m not posting that one. So I was going to tell you about the time I rammed my dad’s VW fastback through the garage door. Yeah, I know, I’ve owned that one for years.

But now, charges have been brought up against me in the court of blog that I must address- that of being the mother of a latch-key, McGyver loving, scientific adolescent. Had I known the potential danger involved I would have kept the two teen girls (and their uninvited boyfriend) on board who’d been babysitting her. Wouldn’t that have been lovely?

Instead I had the lady next door keep an “eye on her”, (the opportunity for a sense of freedom and responsibility – or so I told myself) I came home on my break, and was off work by 5 o’clock. Apparently it wasn’t enough. I noticed something was up when my spoons began disappearing (to this day I don’t have matching spoons.) You’ve undoubtedly heard of bee’s knees – well I’ve had the elbows, wings, and bee butts too, cryogenically preserved for a future examination/dissection/experiments that never came along. I frequently had to vacuum out my freezer to find the chicken potpies.

Suddenly, to my horror, I discovered the orange juice was missing. Orange Juice. What the heck is going on with the orange juice? She looked sincere and honest when she said she’d not drunk all the orange juice. Then I found the roll of film. Doused completely in OJ, I’m not sure what was on the roll originally I only saw pulp. Knowing the amount of ammo in our house and being an avid follower of Myth-Busters I am happy to say I found no locks (and therefore doors) with burn marks. It could have turned out sooooo much worse.

Isn’t hindsight amazing? I thought I’d been doing the best I could. My daughter was my life, she was my support system, heck she raised me. She’s long been the voice of sanity in my adult life – I’d fight through hell and back (if I believed in Hell) for her if need be. While she was growing up I gave her my evenings, my weekends, every effort and opportunity I could, and the best of myself – As a parent you know it wasn’t enough.

Sadly, inside yourself you know it’s never enough. I’m not asking absolution, I can’t find absolution in myself – and heck she can’t give it because she loves me and sees it differently. Now I look back realizing I was even worse a parent during her teen years. If possible I’d take it back, do it differently. Yes, I have long felt guilt, heavy smothering guilt over my parenting (or lack there of.) And still despite me, she turned out a great person and a much better parent than I’d ever hoped to be. Isn’t that the strangest fucking gratification? I tried to make this funny, sadly it’s not, it’s just honest.



Psamanthe said...

First.... I have no clue about the orange juice. I don't remember that, or the roll of film. ..... uggg, ok... wait...I vaguely remember Macgyver developing film with orange juice and something.... but god... I tried it??? I think you're supposed to take it out of the canister first.

Mom... I have always felt that I could tell you just about anything. Please don't let that change... That's one of the greatest things about "US".

I did a lot of stupid, horrid things when I was a kid. And truly, that has nothing to do with you. You can teach your child until you're blue in the face, it's their choice to use those lessons, or not.

Throughout my childhood you instilled the things that allowed me to grow up to be, I think, a good person. Sure, I still have my faults, but I think I'm a fairly decent person who can admit most of those faults... because you taught me to be accountable..

What you fail to realize is that as a child, I heard those lessons........I just kind of stored them away. I brought them out when I truly needed them.. as a teenager. There is where I made the choice. There were things I never considered. Drugs were never an option, drinking and driving were never an option, and giving up my sense of right and wrong because of my peers, NEVER AN OPTION. Because the things you taught finally kicked in.

Sure I did stupid stuff... we all do.. Maybe I did more than my fair share of it but there came an obvious point, 6th or 7th grade, where the one thing that stopped me from doing stupid stuff was because I didn't want you to find out and be disappointed in me.

At 17 when I walked into a bedroom and saw three of my best friends doing lines... I didn't pretend it was ok, I didn't pretend I didn't see, I didn't feel that I needed to join, I turned around and walked out... and never went back. There was never a question or a moment's hesitation. You gave me that strength.

If you feel guilt over the way you raised me, or choices you had to make.... Remember this... Every experience, every choice we make.. makes us who we are today... and I realize that I make choices.. good or bad... and everything I do, or don't do.. I have no one to blame but me... You taught me accountability. And experience makes me who I am... There was a definate point I chose which road I would walk..

I can't tell you why I was the way I was.... But I can tell you why I am the way I am.... I think every good thing about me came from you...

AND.... we are dealing with Wilcox genes...

Anonymous said...

Cele... great great post. You are hysterically honest, and I love your writing.

Your daughter's response to your post is powerful and moving. Powerful. Powerful and inspiring.

This is the stuff that families and communities are made of, right here.

Psamanthe said...

Should be.... Many, many aren't... a fact I find to be more true everyday. I am truly blessed.