I don’t remember where we were headed when he asked me that question.
It was a question I’d heard so many times before. A question I loathed. A question that immediately put me in defense mode and caused me to throw up the walls I’d been trying so hard to break down.
But it sounded different coming from him.
“Carri, why don’t you want kids?”
He nervously looked at me from the passenger seat.
“I just don’t,” I said flatly.
“I don’t understand why not,” he proceeded with caution, knowing full well this topic was a trigger. “I had so much fun with you kids. I don’t understand why you don’t want to experience the joy I did.”
The answer I became accustomed to giving other people just wouldn’t fly with him. He knew better and so did I.
I kept my eyes on the road. “Because. I just… I don’t know how to be a mom.”
There. The truth was out.
“Nobody needs to teach you how to be a mom. If nothing else, you know how not to be.”
“I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I don’t want to treat someone the way we were treated.”
“Carri,” he said. “You’re not her. You’re kind. You’re loyal. People like you. ”
I said nothing.
“Carri, you’re not her.” My eyes were on the road but I could sense his body turning towards me. “You’re not going to make the same mistakes because you’re not like her.”
“Well, I mean, I know I’m not like her, but nobody taught me how to be a mom. I don’t know what a good mom is supposed to be. I didn’t have a good example.”
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
A heavy sigh came from his direction. “You may not have been taught how to be a good mom, but you’ve been taught how to be a good parent.”
Those words – my “Good Will Hunting” moment – began the long and painful process of realizing just that.
Although my mom never taught me how to be a good mother, my dad taught me how to be a good parent.
And that’s the reason he’s a Grandpa today.
Sure, we love our kids… but they also cause us to drink. Our Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini will (almost) make you forget about the marker art on the wall!