I think I don’t want you to read this life lesson Lottie, until you’ve worked it out for yourself. It’s the kind of life lesson that won’t have much impact unless you’ve done the groundwork.
It’s a shocking realisation when one day you see the world for what it really is, and that Mums and Dads* are just people, the same as you. They were once babies, and then they were toddlers. They went to school, got in to trouble for doodling on their exercise books, had crushes on some of their teachers, stayed out too late and got in to trouble for being cheeky. They had (and have) dreams and ambitions of who they want to be and what they want to do in their lives. They feel sad sometimes. And happy, shocked and surprised. They worry about things too, and they also get really, really excited about things (especially Christmas!) Their hearts will break a little each time they see your upset (it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share with them), and their hearts will leap with each small milestone you pass in life, from your first steps, to getting your first job, and beyond.
They too are people, also finding their way in this crazy, mixed up world, only they have twenty (or whatever) more years knowledge and wisdom than you, so know stuff like the importance of brushing your teeth twice a day, and that if you climb really high things, you might hurt yourself and if you do cartwheels straight after eating jelly there’s a good chance you’ll throw up. They will frequently advise you about this stuff.
Inside every Mum and Dad is someone as confused and scared about it all as you, and yes, they too make mistakes, just like we do. And they can also be brilliant and fantastic and great fun and loving and useful and helpful and kind and supportive and funny (yes- sometimes parents make good jokes. Not very often though, so you need to listen hard.) And you’re extra lucky, cause your Mum and Dad are ace, and they will only ever want what’s best for you and they love you millions.
I know it’s sometimes hard, and there will be moments when you’re older where you’ll see difference – disagree on one thing or another. There may be times when you feel let down. But remember, mums and dads are just people too, trying to do the best they can, with their non-super human, super-dooper skills.
Realising that parents are just people is terrifying, it takes away a safety blanket you’ve always had. But perhaps it will open up your relationship to become something new, different and even more special. I hope so.
(This life lesson also applies to mums and mums, dads and dads, mums, dads, aunts and uncles, aunts and aunts, uncles and uncles, nannies and grampys, step grannies and grandads, grandads and grandads, and guardians! And every other kind of family, as there are many, many different kinds of families out there!)