Disciplined in a good way and a not so good way

Dad was very disciplined in his life. He loved his work as an attorney and was not only diligent but also excelled at his profession. He was up early, off to his office, stayed late and set an example for us to follow.

His personal life was also disciplined. Dad ate healthy, drank in moderation and loved being outdoors doing physical activity. When he was diagnosed with PKD – polycystic kidney disease – and was told to follow a vegetarian diet, he did so with little complaint.

His parental discipline was also doled out with much love and care. Having Dad tell you he was disappointed with you was way worse than being disciplined by our mother. Never one to use physical punishment, his stern talk or knowing you had let him down was enough punishment.

The other side was the wild, undisciplined mother of ours, Mary. Undisciplined in oh so many ways. Out of control eating and the manic way she would go on “diets”. Refusing to eat certain items while she consumed mammoth amounts of so called health foods never quite worked out for her. It truly was feast or famine when it came to her eating habits.

She exhibited no discipline when it came to housework of any sort. She said she “had to be in the mood” which meant it wasn’t happening. Laundry was also hit and miss. Mostly missed. Planning meals? Whoever heard of such nonsense!

Her parenting style, which has been discussed in great detail, was also undisciplined. Funny to say that her way of disciplining her children was well, undisciplined. Flying into rages and grabbing me up and yanking my arm out of the socket was legendary. She also loved to hit my bare legs with switches and used “restraints” whenever she could get away with it. Can you say, baby strait jackets?

Oh, and her drinking. The woman never met a bottle she didn’t love! Hanging out in bars when we were quite young just set the stage for later abuse which included pill popping of many kinds.

Looking back it makes you wonder how a very disciplined man could wind up with a very undisciplined woman. Thank goodness he saw it through to the benefit of two little girls, my sister Abby and me.

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