All around me are reminders of the past.
The children, in particular, are ever present as a memory of a past I’d rather forget especially the bits I feel ashamed about.
I’ve worked to be a good father, to be there for them, to help them whenever I could but mostly I learned to listen without judgement recognising them as individuals and people in themselves.
The adult relationships I have now I treasure.
I know it’s not easy for some parents to stop being a parent and accept their children for the adults they have become. I learned that allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them was a good thing as much as it hurts to see it happening. But the rewards have been multiple. We can sit and hold a conversation, laugh together, cry together, feel free to exchange ideas which are more often than not contrary to each other but trust we are not judging each other for what we think and believe.
Being a parent is not easy. There is a lot to cope with, and when you have a few kids as I do, you are confronted by ideas and opinions unique to them each.
But accepting them and loving them as they are is the best coping mechanism I have found, one that works for me.