Anyone reading this blog regularly would think I only read self-help books and teen vampire novels. But that is not true. I love to read and read lots of different types of books. In fact, most of my Friday nights recently have involved a good book, a nice glass of red wine and me curled up on my couch.
My mom and I were talking about books one day, when she asked if I had read the Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Wells a writer and correspondent for MSNBC. I hadn’t and she started to tell me about it. I promised to pick it up and low and behold, the next time I was at Borders it was sitting on the table of buy one get one half off books -- along with My Sister’s Keeper, another book I have been meaning to read.
So, I picked up the book, picked up a bottle of carmenere, got into my jammies and settled in for the night.
Now, I didn’t have an ideal childhood. Both my parents worked for the most part, we ate a lot of fast food, my mom and dad were rarely at any of my field hockey games in middle school and sometimes they fought about money or my brother or sister (never me because I was an angel). I even had to take the bus home from school on occasion. However, after reading Jeannette’s story, my family look like the Cleavers.
What struck me about her memoir, beyond the poverty and craziness and determination of her and her siblings, was that Jeannette wasn’t blaming her parents. She wasn’t even criticizing them. She didn’t whine about how hard she had it, nor did she allow her tough childhood to hinder her in becoming a very successful adult. She was just telling her story and in the end, her and her siblings managed to get away from the madness and make happy lives for themselves.
That is one thing that really bothers me -- when adults blame their parents for their problems. Mind you, I recognize that there are the outliers -- Mackenzie Phillips for example (and yes, I have read her memoir as well), but for the rest of us, I have to believe our parents did the best they could with what they had and we have to forgive them for their shortcomings and move on.
I mean, even in his craziness and alcoholism, Jeannette’s father managed some truly remarkable dad moments. You read these scenes and you see that he loves his daughter and are rooting for him to clean himself up and bring his family back from the ashes. Then his disease takes control again and you wonder how anyone could stand by this man.
But if Jeannette can forgive and still love her mother and father despite all that they put her and her siblings through, then I suppose I can forgive my dad for once telling me I looked like a linebacker in my new jeans and my mother for buying me a Thighmaster when I didn’t make the volleyball team.