When I was quite young, my grandfather gave me a small sign stating an old truism, “We are too soon old and too late smart.” Now, a grandfather myself, I’m just starting to realize what that means.
For instance, on the weekend, I played Monopoly (the board game where you buy and sell properties) with my ten year-old grandson. I was impressed with his business acumen and strategic side deals he made with me.
Yet, that same day, while we attended Cirque du Soleil, he shocked me when I introduced him to some folks we’d met by saying to them that he was “stupid”. The man kindly told my grandson he had lots of time to learn. But, as a grandfather, I was naturally concerned about his negative self- image – especially since just weeks before, he said he was fat and couldn’t run. This from someone who has always been immersed in sports.
“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy, are drifting through my open mind”
~ Across the Universe by The Beatles
I asked him why? The answer seems to be that – ever since his mom and dad separated – he’s felt overwhelmed: getting in trouble at school; acting out aggressively with family and peers; plus, giving up… why bother when you’re a “loser.”
“They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool…”
~ Working Class Hero by John Lennon
I was once in his small shoes.
As I’ve noted before… at twelve, I could clearly understand my folk’s separation. In time, however, the split grew between my father’s family and my mother’s – each defending their own – with me expected to choose a side. Caught in the middle, struggling for emotional survival, I began to see things as black-and-white… empathizing with those telling me the other side was to blame. What responsible adult manipulates children this way? – competitive love: a playing chip!
“But being self-important, this is your way / You’re willing to let, our lives … slip away.”
“And say with love, flooding your eyes / It’s our way or yours, love us or die!”
~ From Our Children’s Lament by Fred Parry
Such is the tragedy of misguided loyalty practiced in the name of love. As a boy, I was led to believe that not hating the one meant not loving the other. For you, I pray the presence of saner heads prevail.
You’ve done nothing to deserve this hell. And, continuing to share your love doesn’t include taking the blame for having your world turned upside down. Just like ‘Humpty Dumpty’ some things just can’t be put back together again. The best you and life can offer is forgiveness… freeing yourself from future resentment.
“Don’t you ever ask them why / If they told you, you would cry
So, just look at them and sigh / and know they love you.”
~ Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
So, the truth about love is this: You’ll never have to ask where it is… seeing it in the eyes you share it with.
Photo is pixabay creative commons
First posted at fredparry.ca
Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His newspaper column, Music in Me, can be found in ‘The New Hamburg Independent’ Metroland Media. His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is Available from Amazon and Indigo / Chapters.
Blog / Website: www.fredparry.ca