This Old Man

When I was growing up, my father worked a lot, was tired a lot and liked to drink a lot with my mom and other friends and family members that always gathered at the house. I lived in an alcoholic home and never gave much thought to it, as that is what families do. Right? It was all I knew and considered normal. The clanking of the brown, glass Blue Ribbon beer bottles in that neat, sturdy brown case was a common sound. I figured I, too, would do the same when I grew up and I did for a bit. It was just the life I knew and I was basically raised in bars, definitely on weekends. Thankfully, I realized I did not want any part of that lifestyle.

In my boredom as a young child of sitting and listening, I heard dirty jokes even though they thought I was not listening or understood. If you listen long enough, and I had time to do such, you learn and hear a lot. I did not need Google. The smell of beer, the cigarette smoke flowing and clouding up the room and hearing fake, drunken laughter all around, was a normal period of my life. If we were in a bar, I kept myself busy watching, thinking or if given some money, I’d go buy a Archie comic book at the drugstore, which was a treat. To get twenty-five cents was like begging but they could freely buy beer. In my other down times, I would help clean, especially salt and pepper shakers, perfect for my small hands. Still to this day, I feel the greasy shakers when at a restaurant and just cringe. Such a simple task but it is never done.

My dad was a big man and sounded gruff at times and others knew when he spoke, he meant business. He was a stubborn man. Still, we knew we were to respect him as our dad and when it came bedtime, we best be quiet. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. and out the door to drive an hour to work, it was a lot on him so I understood. Still, kids will be kids and siblings will fuss with one another or laugh. Only a few times, did I get in trouble with him. I still remember the last time when I did, along with my sister. Memories, good or bad, are etched into my brain, as I can still hear the tone of his voice and feel fear as I heard him snap his belt. I still remember where we were in the living room, like frozen in time within my mind. It was just a threat but enough to cause fear to freeze in a panic within me.

Strange how I married a man similar to my dad and knew how to deal with him because of my dad. I went from one to the other, like from one frying pan to another. Dysfunction to a dysfunctional relationship. The tone of the voice raises fear. There would be no belts or switches used in raising our children. The strike-three method worked with my boys, as I corrected them if needed and they knew that they had every opportunity to do whatever. For instance, if they did not clean their room, they did not go or do until. I did not need a spotless room but they needed to learn to pick up and help. If they did not put or keep the seatbelt on, we would sit right in the driveway until they did. I remember our youngest having a fit over the seatbelt. We sat in the driveway until it clicked, no matter if we were late or whatever. We never had that situation again. The rules, whether our rules as parents or legal, we all follow. Kids will be kids but they need to learn and know right from wrong and to understand. I was not always perfect as their mother, but I tried to be patient and discuss what we were dealing with at the time. It does not require a harsh voice, snap of a belt, a tree switch whipping in the air of torture to ensue or anything physical, all of which brings fear upon the child. Understanding the child, the situation and explaining or otherwise the parent(s) get overrun by their own children, which happens.

I still use the strike-three method in life today in situations, no matter who or what it is. I’ll allow that grace period and strike three, you are out and I am done. I had to deal with this in a business situation recently, which worked out fine but on the verge of strike three. If you don’t want my business, I can go elsewhere. We all need to be strict, stubborn and stick to our guns as they say somewhat or we will be taken advantage of, so boundaries are needed, but we don’t need to be mean and ugly.

All through these years of strict upbringing even in an alcoholic home, I knew to be good, but I was also a child and not perfect. The fear of that tone used or hear as he called my first and middle name, I knew I was in trouble. I had responsibilities and if not met, I was to do so immediately. This can expound into so much more but the gist of this is of my dad demeanor and expressed to those around him. Don’t cross the line.

Years later down the road, my parents aged and medical issues came about. I was the one to care for them and I knew that was the plan from my early years, even as a child. I am unsure how I was able to do it all, having two toddlers, my own home and family, church, outside work in sales but I also tended to their needs, all by the Grace of God.

I saw my father of being that man you would think would be a hateful man, he became a very calm, patient man as he aged. Perhaps knowing I would take charge and he was in good care or perhaps I could hurt him, which I would not do. I became his nurse, for years, with medical visits, insulin shots and a feeding tube all throughout the remaining days of his life. No daughter should have to change their dad’s diaper and clean his private parts, but I did. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect him to let me but he trusted me. I have no regrets. Mom had already passed by then so he had me tend to him while others would come to visit, if ever. Dad had a stroke, which caused the feeding tube and he could not speak anymore but grunt or try his best to sound out words. I understood him. He ended up being like a big ole teddy bear.

Now, I am dealing with my husband’s father and mother. My father-in-law wins by being the most stubborn man I know. Things are turning out to be quite difficult with them. I say them because I believe my mother-in-law is and has been in such a severe state of depression dealing with this man. I feel she is at a point now that she would like to just curl up and die. Shoot, I would and I only deal with him occasionally. Hateful. This task of dealing with him falls upon my husband, the middle son. The oldest is not well liked by the dad and the youngest only wants a handout of money and the mom gives it.

In fourteen months, throughout this pandemic, I have seen them both deteriorate. I put side by side pictures of each and it is shocking. Forget doctor appointments as he will not allow or want to go for a visit. If he doesn’t, she doesn’t. His hair looks like a wild man and it is just crazy in what is happening. Her hair is not much better, dirty and matted. Stubbornness on his part to not want help to make their life easier with handicapped items. No, he would rather have her call for us to come pick him up due to falling, now happening way too much. I have all the handicap items sitting at our house to help but he refuses them.

As their son, my husband discussed, I suggested that 911 be called, if need be, especially if he falls and a sight of blood. If this continues, they will need to be called and him taken to the hospital. It might be the best thing. We know nothing of their medical information or what is what, which will be a task when something does happen or even death. We are at a loss due to this old man’s stubborn, hateful ways. I believe she has just given up, total hopelessness as she awaits death. It’s a sad situation.

This year will hold a lot of ups and downs with both of them, I feel. It has already been eventful. This old man is something else. Of all my years in this family (1985), I have never seen any alcoholic beverages in the house, nor has his son. We wonder what caused this immediate desire to drink beer. My mother-in-law, raised in church, worked at the church, does not believe in alcoholic beverages, so we are unsure how the beer purchase comes about. Odds are, she does not care and it might give her some peace. After retirement about eight years ago, she has been under his thumb since, once telling me this is not what she expected. The depression was already taking hold of this sweet lady. I have told her that she is a hostage in her own home and she agreed. I am shocked that she would buy the beer. A mystery. What is funny but yet sad, he attempted to hide his Milwaukee’s Finest beer can in a coozie and drink from a straw to hide from his son.

This old man is acting like a teenager and has an attitude to go with one. While he shuffles in his walk anyway, the beer is not helping the situation and causing him to lose his balance and fall.

Lord help us all with him.

The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).

I Want a Do Over

My life is almost at the end of its race, even though I have many more years to live and hopefully have a happily ever after ending.

Thinking back, those wishes we have made of, if I had only known or if I did this or that and even not do those things, my life would be so much better and fulfilling. We learn as we go and we make mistakes as we go, too, though. I’ll have plenty more opportunities yet to mess up.

As a mother, perhaps as Mother’s Day is approaching or perhaps it is because I am sorting and packing items between my two sons of their past belongings when in school and at home and of my own keepsakes. Going down memory lane can be fun and happy but also bring up thoughts of regrets and sadness. Definitely no regrets on their part, but my own. Those thoughts that enter, reminding me of my failures being a mom, as the enemy is so fast to point out each and every flaw. Had it not been for these guys in my life, my life would not be what it is. They have helped me understand the depth of love a mother can have toward another and it is more love than for any other person. I got a double dose of love from them. They have my heart. They caused me to push through much anguish over the years of when I had no hope, but I lived for them.

Having sons, I expected and desired as a mom that I would have a major role in their life, and hopefully they can say well done mom. Even though I made mistakes and wish I could do over so many times in areas. I depended upon my husband, their father, to help them understand more of the sexual, manly parts of life so they held no shame regarding sex, their urges as testosterone built within, the how to, what to do, what not to do, how to treat a woman, etc. Nothing.

If I had to do over, I would have been more inclined to do the straight talk through this with them instead of them learning on their own or from friends. I should have known better from a comment on our wedding night. I regret leaving them searching and being unsure but also wanted to not embarrass them. In their college days, I was able to share and talk more freely as opportunities came about, and I think they felt comfortable enough with this old mom of theirs and many times we laughed over certain situations. Still, I want a do over.

Had I not had the wedding night and time that led up to that moment, and thereafter, I would not have my two sons. How boring life would be as they both make this world a better place.

I cannot have a do over from my childhood, adulthood or motherhood of raising them, but what I can do over and over again is love my children and be as transparent as they want me to be, as grown men, and go forward in life. Some changes will happen in the days, months and year(s) ahead and they can choose to know me in a different light, as with their father. We are all at a different stage in life, they are old enough to handle life and hopefully see I stayed for them long enough, was patient and had long suffering, but I now deserve a life of what is left to be free from being a caged bird.

Let me fly! There is no do over.

Flying Free | Help for Christian Women in Emotionally Abusive Marriages

Mom’s Place

How do I parent an adult child? I am sure some would comment, you don’t. The child is an adult, making adult choices and decisions and does not need their mother meddling in their business. Correct!

Still, I am my child’s mother and always will be. Does that mean I can step in and control? Nope! Once their foot stepped out to leave for college, I knew my parenting was on the sideline. Mom was not there to pick up the dirty laundry, although that was brought back home when visiting but I enjoyed one last chance of them needing me. Plus, I like doing laundry. College is over, years now in their professions and doing well. A proud mom. Although, I feel less and less needed of not helping out by hanging curtains, painting, landscaping, cleaning, etc. I miss those times together as we worked together, so I must have taught them well.

To be honest, I have to fight the thoughts that they don’t want to be with me anymore and even worse, they don’t need me. Those thoughts, fears and the tears are just that, nothing more. I can choose to dwell there or know their life is busy, they enjoy my company, don’t need me as much and most importantly, I know they love me.

Letting go and the choices, decisions, their finances and places they chose was on them to deal with, good or bad. The friendships made, also some good and some bad. In time, they also would learn who was using them or were true friends. The late nights out or the studying never complete was on them. When they left for college, my saying to them was if you play, you will still have to pay, in one way or another. Thankfully, and proud mom moment, they both were always on the Dean’s List. My thinking with the play and pay was more in tuition, knowing they would regret.

It was over the years, my youngest has had to pay in other ways. Thankfully, he is independent, has too much trust in others and has a kind heart. He is a lot like me and I am unsure if that is good or bad. Do I say I am sorry or you are welcome?

I have seen my youngest pushed down time and time again being used and taken advantage of but still he bounces back up. The last few years, the bounce has been slower and depression set in. Several of his friends committed suicide, three in one year, that’s traumatic. Some of the choices he made were not wise but he has to deal with them and he has done just that, probably more than I know. Again, just like me, you deal with it. It will be years later when some of the stories come out and my system is not shocked as much. I am just now hearing about high school and some of the college stories, which I normally look at them and say, ‘You are grounded,’ and then we laugh. I do remember being young.

Letting Go of Worry

As their mother, I want to jump in and do this or that but my jumping in to help has to be minimal, more and more. They both need to figure life out on their own, responsibility and experience the bumps and bruises as they come, if so. I have always made sure they know I am here though.

I know that they know of such, especially my youngest again, because at 3:00 AM one morning, about a year ago, he calls in desperation and my heart dropped. He knew I would pray and he also knew I would stay on the phone until a peace was present. It was that time when he had a perfect opportunity to call upon the Lord, just him in an empty parking lot looking up at the sky filled with stars and his eyes filled with tears. As I mentioned this to him, he had a choice and perhaps he did but now he is running from what was said and promised to the Lord. I don’t know the outcome of those alone moments before he called or after we hung up but one day I will. I know I had to trust God like never before to hold him close and watch over him, being about four hours from home. I had to make a decision to get on the road and head toward West Virginia or stay, pray and trust the Lord. My bag was packed and I was on my way though.

Just to know, he made it back to his home fine, checking in with me. I truly believe after he drove down to work that afternoon and when work was over, he had a panic attack. He had time for it to settle and realized his life was spared from a horrific accident. Listening to him explain the car wreck on the highway and as he was trying to avoid her, by going in the other lane, he looks in the rear view mirror seeing a semi coming right at him. Saying he was able to keep control and move back over before being hit. The mind just imaging this play out, I was having a panic within but those prayers of protection over my child(ren) will always be prayed. He could not get the girl’s face of fear out of his mind, worrying if she lived or died. It all hit him, as it would any of us.

Not knowing how he was touched spiritually in that parking lot, I do remember being young and running from the Lord. I knew better but I did not want to serve the Lord. We all have had moments, I am sure. In my own situation, I had no peace or real joy and miserable until I totally surrendered my life of living for the Lord, as a Christian. I feel that is where he is now. He is miserable. He has a choice to make. He knows his mom prays and has told him time and time again that there is a calling upon his life. Satan will fight even more. As his mom, I will pray even more. Satan will not have my son, or my other son (and daughter-in-law). They all know of God, saved when young but not serving Him.

I have to trust, too, that being raised in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and us praying together, they know and I stand upon that God’s Word will not come back void. Their father and I dedicated their lives to the Lord and I expect nothing less.

My prayers for both of them were that the Lord would place Christians in their pathway to light the way with direction and be a witness, if just in their personal walk with the Lord. I know they would talk more freely with another than their mom, which I totally understand, I was the same.

My oldest, as he was first to leave the nest, I prayed for him to be friends with others of Christian backgrounds and that they would be influenced in that manner. His group of friends from start to finish in college are all still good friends today, in each other’s weddings. Now, the children are being born, but I also see them involved in church. This son, of course, is not like my other and needs to be treated differently. Lord, put Christians in his pathway to bring him to where he needs to be in his walk. I have watched this and it is exciting. Not exactly where I want him and his wife yet, involved in a church, but I’m patient. So is God. It is no accident that their house is right across the street of a large church. I now just pray that the right one will come, knock on their door and invite them to attend and go from there.

My prayer for my children and even myself, is to put Christians in our pathway of life to help us and to lead us in the right direction. We all need this, God’s Timing of the right place and the right person/people to bring us to where we need to be in life. Trust Him.

My youngest, my prayers for him is for safety, clarity of thought and mind, wisdom and as I see depression linger, that I bind the works of the enemy upon him. This one stretches my faith but I will stretch in order to see him saved and serving the Lord. He has a testimony and a way about him to help so many around him. His experiences in life will open doors to speak of what not to do. To share of how he got through this or that and what he learned in the middle of circumstances and of acquaintances that used him. It was not always others that caused the problems but he made some unwise decisions. Still, he came out on top. I feel the Lord has favor upon him. All I know to do and to be right now is BE STILL and know that I can trust God with my son, which is His son also.

Letting Go of Giving Advice

Having these boys increased my faith in God. I finally understood what love was all about with them being born and I cannot imagine life without them, how boring. A truly blessed mom here.

So, as they age and so do I, for some reason I long for their company which seems to be less and less as they have their own life. As they left for college, the empty-nest grief, I felt, but I sense it somewhat now, too. I don’t know where I fit in within their lives. My oldest being married, they have one another. My youngest will one day marry but he is alone. Perhaps it just me thinking he is alone, he’s probably just very busy in life. I miss our time together, I miss hanging the curtains, helping him with his out-of-control dirty laundry. He has it together. It’s his mother that is lost in an age of uncertainty. Sometimes wondering, ‘Am I Your Mother?’ Of course, I am and I always will be as my love and prayers will always be alive, even when I die. I certainly hope that they never had to or will ever have to question if they were loved.

Letting Go of Guilt-Tripping

The article attached is really good. I found it as I have pondered this parenting thing for a bit. Maybe it will help you or someone you know that struggles being a parent to adult children.


Letting Go and the Art of Parenting Adult Children