Parents and children

One of the things I like to do is to listen to Garrison Keillor and “Prairie Home Companion.” I love the wholesome (for the most part) Americana. I enjoy his story telling and the skits. Last night I was listening to a recent show and he ended it with singing “I still can’t say goodbye.” The song really touched me and so I found it on YouTube and listened a couple more times to let whatever it was that I was feeling wash over me.

What I was feeling was a longing for my father. I think it’s true that I still can’t say goodbye. He was a good man. He was gentle and loving. He taught me a lot about life. He was very deep and thoughtful. And I miss him. And yes, I still can’t say goodbye even though he’s been gone for 23 years.

I made me think about this: all of the time i was raising my children, I never felt as if I was very important in their lives. I knew they needed me physically to take care of them. They needed me to wash their clothes and make their meals and to buy them the things they needed– but I never had the sense that on a deep level they really needed me or even loved me. And they were good kids– every one of them. They were bright and clever and even mostly obedient. Yet I never had the feeling that I was all that important to them as a person beyond providing what they needed.

Did my father feel that way about me? Did my mother? For as difficult a person as she was, she was enormously important to me. Despite her moods and her critical manner, all I wanted was her approval and her love. If she was angry with me, the whole world looked gray. If she was happy, I was elated. Did she know how much power she had?

Do any of us parents really know how important we are to our children?

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  1. We take parents for granted – they’re an essential part of our world, like air. How much time do you spend thinking about how important oxygen is to you?

  2. I notice that you don’t like to say goodbye, in general. Hope you have a really wonderful birthday.

  3. Makes me wonder.
    I wonder if my children think I am important?

    I wonder if I think of my mother as important?

    And most of all I wonder if my mother ever thinks about such things?