In the movie, "On Golden Pond", Katharine Hepburn had just a wonderful line that went (something like), "Sometimes you have to look really HARD at a person to know that they're doing the best they can."
Tammy, in her response to a comment on one of her recent posts on memories of her father, said -- I guess I'm going to just have to copy almost all of her response here, because it's really important --
Actually, what's really funny is I haven't had the best relationship with my parents! I felt for a long time that there was nothing I wanted to remember, but have been pleasantly surprised with various memories popping up here and there. I want to get them all down on paper 'so to speak' and see what else comes to mind.
I've spent so long feeling angry that my dad was never around for me and my brother, and am thinking perhaps he was just trying to do the best for us that he knew how.
[Ding ding ding! Does that line of Katharine Hepburn's ring a resounding bell?]
I'm also thinking that I need to forgive and start looking ahead instead of behind. He's so good with my kids and I'd really like a relationship with him, too.
My daughter and I had kind of an interesting discussion the other day about parenting, relationships, and the like. She was brought up under Dr. Spock's guidelines ... any of you from 'way back when' remember that name?
This conversation came about because she told me that, after having just dropped her daughter off for an overnight at a friend's house the night before, when she went to pick her up the next day she had trouble recognizing her!
Mostly said in jest, of course, but the 'times' today are so diverse and complex that it can sometimes seem as tho a whole other century has passed since you last saw one another!
I am reminded of a story I heard many years ago. I don't know if it's true or not, but here it is. I'll let you decide its veracity.
One of the townspeople's older generation died. He had not been well-loved. In fact, he had long been known as one of the most nasty critters (human-wise) that God had ever produced. No one in town had ever had a kind word to say about him. NO one!
There lived, however, in this town a gentle lady who had never been known to say an unkind word about anyone. In fact, when someone of even the slightest ill-repute passed on, she could almost always be counted on to say something positive.
Well, when this (by consensus) nasty/ugly/evil man passed on to 'his reward', the townspeople waited to hear what words she might possibly be able to cull from her positive memory banks to try and describe this person.
Silence. Days passed. She said nothing. Weeks passed. She volunteered no statement yea or nay. FInally, in a fit of utter exasperation, she was asked directly, "Well, what did you think of old so and so?"
And after a VERY long pause, she finally came out with, "Well, he had a nice whistle!"