Family Relationships and Becoming a Parent

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Article by Wendy McCance

I was never close to my family.  Growing up, I often felt isolated.  I was the odd man out, the one who got blamed for any problems if my sister and I were fighting.  My dad used to be on the road a lot.  He was an insurance salesman and he would be gone for weeks at a time.  When he came home, I was always so excited to see him, but I was often ignored.  I would wake up in the mornings and end up crushed finding out that he had left the house, my little sister in tow to go out to breakfast.  He never asked me to go with them.  When I confronted him years later, he claimed he didn’t ask me because I didn’t like to go out to eat.  It wasn’t true and had never been said.

There was always a strange competition for my little sisters affection between my parents.  My dad was very close to my sister and my mom would try to find ways to get just as close.  It was a really strange dynamic.  I was the invisible child.

I remember being in middle school and one particular incident when I got in a fight with my dad.  I finally said out loud what I felt for years.  I accused my dad of having a second child because he had been so disappointed after I was born.  The words came out of my mouth, my dad stopped and gave me a long, hard look, and then, he said nothing.  It was the worst moment.  I was stunned and repeated the accusation as though he hadn’t heard me right the first time.  Once again my dad didn’t say a word.  I was crushed.  Tears streaming down my face, I ran past him and my heart hardened.  From that day on, I knew I had no one I could count on but myself.  The days of wishing for any kind of relationship with either parent vanished.

Growing up, I never wanted to have children.  I was afraid that I would end up treating my own kids the way I was treated and I couldn’t stand the idea of creating misery for someone else. Those feelings slowly fell aside as I got close with my ex-husband’s family.  There were 9 kids, most who were grown and  had kids of their own.  It was a close-knit bunch and I got a lot of time around many little kids.  I realized that I could be different than my parents and that I had the ability to show love and tenderness.  I truly loved those little kids and felt the closeness of that big family that I had wished for all my life with my own.

Three kids later and it was the best decision I ever made.  My own children mended my heart.  I have the relationship with them that I wished I had with my parents.  There is so much joy in our house.  I am there for each child individually.  Each one of my kids knows that I love them, that I genuinely enjoy them and that they will always have my support.

After my first child was born, my parents showed an interest in being grandparents.  I had the first grandchild and they both gave their grandchild the love I had always personally hoped for. In a strange way, it helped keep a crumbling family from falling apart altogether.  Thankfully, each additional grandchild has been treated to the same kindness without any child seeming favored.  Their love for my children helped me heal as well.

Even now, there are still so moments that mend corners of my soul that I didn’t realize needed mending.  Moments where I am amazed at how much my kids know about me and how well I know my kids.

The fact that as an adult, you can be the parent you wish you had as a child is incredible.  I will always be grateful that I let down the walls and decided to have kids of my own.  I love all three of them with all my heart.  They mean everything to me.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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7 thoughts on “Family Relationships and Becoming a Parent

  1. Pingback: There Is Room At The Table For Evkeryone | Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom

  2. Reading this made me think of my dad, his family have never been close and he didn’t want that for his children as a child I remember dad getting up and having breakfast with us even if he had only had a couple of hours sleep he would go back to bed after breakfast but he thought it was important to have breakfast with the family if he was home. Dad was and still is quick to hug his children, the words “love you” come easy to him because he rarely heard those words till he meet mum. He like you never wanted his children to ever doubt that he loves them or that he is proud of them.

  3. Well ultimately, nothing is born ideal, we have to make it from the ground up even if we do have the foundation. There is always a choice.

  4. Thanks for sharing this very personal history. I’m so glad you were able to find healing in it all, to find the way to be a better parent. So many people don’t — they just carry on the pain, inflicting it on the next generation. And I’m especially glad you were able to find comfort in the fact that your children were loved by your parents. Often it works the opposite.

    I had a friend whose mom didn’t want girls, only boys. My friend got caught in a sad rebellion, searching for affection in all the wrong places. Well, her Mom openly had no use for her but when she had an illegitimate daughter, suddenly the grandma loved and wanted that girl. The grand-daughter then became the object in a custody tug-of-war between her mother & grandma (now the baby-sitter.) And my friend hoped her daughter would turn out just as bad as she was, just to spite grandma. So sad.

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