Growing up on strict, military-style discipline, I resented not doing things and going places like other teenagers my age were doing because our father wanted us to invest the time doing things with “the family.”
Having three brothers and three sisters, we were in no need to have any desire to do anything but to spend quality “family time” when we were not studying. I resented so much his attitude and wanted to do other things in life, more fun stuff with friends and new people I was meeting in college. I got married, and have three grown up professional children that I adore. And I adopted some of the same strict rules I resented from my father.
My mother and father have been married for over 56 years, and 10 years ago he was detected with Alzheimer’s. It has been pretty hard to see his mind deteriorate, but as a family, we have learned to stay strong and to enjoy the precious moments we can spend together. It is funny, but we were so busy with our daily life that we did not have much time to worry about how Mom’s or Dad’s day went before this. Now we all visit them more often, call them every day and want to spend as much time as we can with them. We love them dearly, and nothing at this point makes my mother, father and all of our family happier than spending “family time” together.
Dad, now I know what you meant when you used to say the real family is only “One.” Forgive me for not understanding that you only wanted to make sure we always stay together, strong and teach our children the same thing. Good job!