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A Posthumous Tribute

Thoughts I never shared

By Lisa CetinicPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
It was 1966 and my mother adored her brand new Encyclopedias.

You died! Damn it, you died. And while I acknowledge the event must have been catastrophic for you, neither was it a great delight for me. You see, there are a few things that I wanted to say to you that the nature of our fractured relationship prevented me from saying during your living years.

I’ve never considered myself much of a spiritual person, but I believe that people we love who have passed continue to have a nebulous understanding of our thoughts and feelings. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but, like anyone who has experienced loss, it’s a belief that gives me comfort.

So if it’s true that there is a considerable number of thoughts and feelings floating around the ether, or even if it’s just wishful thinking, it’s important for those of us who have experienced loss to take advantage of whatever means are available to unburden ourselves of the grief we’ve been carrying or to express feelings we were unable to express during the living years.

You died with the belief that I never respected you as a mother and I certainly went to great lengths to foster that belief while you were alive. I make no apologies for that. You favored my sister over me, were atrociously unfair to your son, made us inhale your second-hand smoke for years – the list of your transgressions was considerable.

I’m sure you were aware of my disdain, but I regret very much never having told you of it. It’s possible that you were unaware of a lot of the parenting mistakes you made and I’m sorry for never having been honest with you about them.

I’m not sure if you were aware of it, but from a very early age, I made it a point to distance myself from you. I voted for a different political party, read a different newspaper, and dressed in clothing I knew you wouldn’t approve of. Hell, I even used a different toothpaste than you did.

And so, having deemed you not-so-great a parent, when I found out I was pregnant with my first child I decided to stay far away from all of your “mommyisms” to ensure that I made more of a success out of parenting than you ever did. I treated my three children the same – never playing favorites with one above another. I also took a strong interest in their schoolwork and never offered the refrain I grew up with when I brought home perfect report cards: “You’re not going to school for me you know.”

Most importantly, I always encouraged my kids and celebrated their successes. When they told me what they wanted to do with their lives, I told them to go for it and made myself available to help them in any way I could. I honestly wish you had given me that kind of encouragement when I was growing up!

Here’s the thing, even though I never applauded your parenting efforts, I wish I'd told you while you were alive that you made one hell of a grandmother. “Bochi” your grandchildren always called you, not “Babcha” (the Polish word for grandmother), because it was infinitely easier for their young mouths to pronounce.

“I want to go to Bochi's house,” was the familiar refrain from my kids. You see, you spoiled them rotten which is exactly what a good grandmother should do. It won me over, I can tell you that. I watched you with my kids, strolling around the neighborhood looking for mighty machines (construction sites), watching baseball games, playing Lego, reading them books, and allowing them to “garden with you”. You were the embodiment of the grandmother that I wanted to be when it was my turn. Kudos to you, Mom!

And in terms of favoritism, the behavior that you engaged in that I disliked most, well let's just say on my journey through parenting I learned a lot. While there's never been one child that I favor among my three, there certainly is one child that I worry about more than the others. One child to whom I give extra praise, additional affection, and more encouragement.

At some point it occurred to me that you simply did the same. You were never worried about my brother or I, always confident that we would succeed. Whereas you correctly judged that my sister needed you the most. I don't condone your behavior, but at least now I understand it.

While raising my children, It often occurred to me that parenting is not easy. There is no guide book, no instruction manual, no definitive way of determining as a parent whether you are making a success out of child rearing. You rely on the feedback from external sources (teachers, other parents, other children) to gauge the job you’ve done.

Politeness, empathy, consideration, fairness – these virtues are not inherent in young children, they need to be taught, and as I possess all of them I’d have to concede that you did a fair job of parenting after all. The truth is that I was too judgmental, immature and self-righteous to have given you a fair shot. For that I am sorry – very sorry.

And I need you to know something, I've already told my children that when they have kids, I want to be called Bochi because Bochies are the best! It’s a posthumous tribute for sure, but one that I felt it necessary to make to let you know that I never forgot all of the Easter egg hunts you made for my boys, the Bochi muffins you would always bring over, and all the years you came and shelled out Halloween treats with my younger son so that my husband and I could take our two older sons out trick or treating.

I love you, mom. You made a spectacular Bochi and have left some very big shoes to fill. Don’t worry though, it is my intent to honor the legacy you left.

And by the way, it was me who spilled the ink in your brand new Encyclopedia.


About the Creator

Lisa Cetinic

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    Lisa CetinicWritten by Lisa Cetinic

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