My mother and father divorced when I was very young. Two years old. Or four. Something like that. Not long after, my mother and I moved out of state. I saw my father on holidays, and during the summer, when I was a kid. When I hit my teen years, it was more during the summer, and maybe Christmas. I think I probably got my horrible long distance relationship skills from him.
Still... During those summers, I learned that my parents are very different. My mother wanted certain things for me. She wanted me to work hard in school, be a good Christian girl, and sometimes I got the impression she even wanted me to have a certain personality. My father, on the other hand, just wanted me to be happy and safe. Whatever that happened to mean.
Over the years since then, I've learned more about these people who are my parents. He takes after his parents, who were very laissez faire about raising children. Not that they ran amok and took over the house, but that they were allowed to be the unique little people they were. She, on the other hand, seems to feel that if I do certain things then she has failed as a parent.
When I was little(er), I used to let my mother read my diary. I was an open book, and I liked sharing my hopes and dreams with someone important to me. I remember in particular sharing one entry about a boy. I really liked him. She told me boys aren't that important. I didn't share my diary much after that. In middle school, I had a dress I loved, and I wore it around the house "practicing" ballet. I mentioned that I wished I could take classes. Mom said I didn't have the body of a dancer. I learned I couldn't count on her to encourage my dreams, unless they fit into her approved list. When I was a teenager, I worked part time in the same office as her. I overheard her sharing my problems with a coworker. I didn't talk to her about troubles much after that. At 18 or 19, I picked up a tarot deck and decided to learn. My intent was more the imagery and psychology and self-exploration, as I'd found a book that talked about them in that light, but she didn't wait to find out. She saw me with the deck and told me they were the devil's tools and evil and I shouldn't be messing with them. I learned I couldn't expect her to try to understand me.
I don't remember much of being very young with my father. Probably because it didn't happen much, what with living in different states and all. I do remember being a little older, Dad was driving us home and I was flirting through the window with the guy in the next car. Later, the guy knocked on the door and we stood outside and talked. He came back the next day, too. Dad's only disapproval was that we didn't know the guy, so he shouldn't be in the house. (Not being the best neighborhood, and us having decent stereo equipment, I can see his concern. Besides... Not much is going to happen on the porch. But he never said that.) I took my tarot deck to my father's house one year, and studied in the open. I was a little embarrassed when someone saw what I was doing. (Ah, my mother's training!) My father only asked if I could do a reading for him. He was happy when I told him about the wedding, never once suggesting I was too young. He was understanding when I told him about the split, never telling me marriage is forever or I might be making a mistake.
I've learned that, while I love my mother, we simply have to agree to disagree. It's best if we just don't talk about those things. Which is... Pretty much everything important to me. Religion and love topping the list.
I've learned that, while I haven't communicated much with my father over the years, I can trust him. No matter what it is, he's there for me, and happy for my joys. He doesn't judge me negatively for not joining the mainstream of society.
My parents... They love me. They want whats best for me. They have different ideas of how to get there.