Someone asked upthread about whether we have experienced the opposite - where we realize that our parents don't know everything. Sadly, I realized that my parents were horribly out of touch with my reality when I was still in grade school. Things had changed so much from when they were kids that much of their knowledge was outdated, sometimes literally: my dad couldn't help me with my homework. I think both he and I thank deity that I was a naturally bright student.
The hardest lesson I had to learn I am still learning: how to live as an independent adult. My father spoiled and sheltered me, to my detriment. He did not let me stumble, struggle or fail. He did not let me try things on my own. Convrsly, he also was under the mistaken assumption that I would magically know what I needed to know to make it in the world...perhaps through osmosis?
He claims now that I "wasn't interested in learning." My retort to that is a) why would I have any interest in learning to do something after he had made it clear he would do it for me anyway (an awesome combo of both enabling and showing lack of faith in my abilities) and b) he wasn't a good teacher.
I have three brothers. Out of the four of us, I think I am in the best place emotionally (the one place I learned my hard lessons was in a counselors office
). My middle older brother is the most self-sufficient. My mom kicked all three out of the house as they turned 18 - she took a page from the fairy tales and gave them each a certain amount of $$ and let them "seek their fortune." The eldest can't take care of himself because of health issues. The youngest was bailed out by mom every time he needed it, and by grandma when mom wouldn't do it. He will never learn a lesson. Ever. Learning life lessons requires a level of self awareness and humility that he isn't capable of - all he can do is blame everyone around him when things don't go the way he wants.
One of the most painful things about my mother's death is that she is not here to see what I have learned since - I think she would be proud. I think she would even be happy to learn some new things from me
. I have to wonder if I could have learned what I have if she hadn't left - I like to think so, but if not it is officially the hardest, cruelest, most painful lesson of all that we all must eventually learn: that we can survive after we lose the ones we love.