Joy! My favourite discussion topic: parents! This goes next to 'childhood' in my list of things I hate discussing. I will do it, though. Not only because parental care is clearly a huge part of what makes us who we are but also because I've been asked about my parents a lot lately. Usually prefaced by, "Wow- you're F-ed up." This is not a claim I will deny nor is it one I am proud of (maybe a little...) To even out my distaste for the subject, I will insert my views on parents and possibly insert a personal anecdote or such from time to time. Fair?
It was 1932 and the sun was rising upon a fresh, crisp layer of flaxen snow (don't eat the flaxen snow). All over the world, people were preparing for the fourth of July. Except in one household on Todt Hill in Staten Island. Surrounded by mafioso loading their guns cheerfully and dead bodies rotting off the coast of the old Island was one quaint million-dollar household. In this household a new baby girl was being brought home. Her mother a medical doctor and a law student, her father a medical doctor and law student, as well. Along with this educated couple and perfect child were two bustling, noisy, obnoxious, unwanted male children. These were the baby's two older siblings. Bless her poor little soul.
I've said too much already.
What is the purpose of a parental figure? A mentor, a role model, a friend, a authority figure, a safety net, a protector, an introduction to love and morals and relationship forming.... These are all the things a parent is supposed to provide. However, when these traits are unavailable to a child, whether the parent makes themselves unable emotionally or physically, the outcome can be something awful. On the other hand, you have the unsung heroes who survive a parentless childhood with their decency in tact. It is probably impossible to discover where that line is drawn, precisely. Variables apply such as outside role models (i.e. family, teachers, celebrities...), as well as what is within the genetic makeup of the child. Will this "trauma" of lacking parents or a closeness to a parent lead to depression or independence? Resentment and spite or strength and joy? Tragedy or empowerment? What determines this answer? I am not sure.
My mother asked me recently, "If your father and I listened to less depressing music, do you think you would write less dark stuff?" To which I replied, "I've written about people dying and kittens being eaten since I was born. It's in our blood." I don't think my parents suddenly had a taste for morbid music and this influenced me. I think they were born with a penchant for the perished, just as I was. However, would I have continued my fascination if at an early age my parents intervened and told me it was bad or if my teachers punished me for it? Would I have had to hold in my passion and release it through massacring innocent lives? Maybe I would have gone on to lead a normal, mentally-healthy life. Who is to say? I don't believe I have it in me to harm anyone but maybe that is only because I do all my torture through my writing. Again, there is no way of knowing what would have, could have been. We only know that I turned out to be cold to the touch but warm at heart.
I guess the important question one must ask themselves before becoming a parent (if this is by choice) is, "Who do I plan to be?" That is to say, do I want to be a parent? Am I ready and prepared and do I have any idea what parenting implies? You've got your deadbeats, workaholics, runaways, man/woman children, and just generally bad, abusive, mean, distracted, and clueless types.
As for myself? Do I want to be a parent? No. Not really. Not particularly. Not by any means, actually. The funny thing is, I would have a perfect child. The genes are amazing and with my empathy and personality, the kid would be a freakin' star. Yet, I have no interest or desire. I have considered adoption but... if I don't even want a child, I feel like one that didn't biologically belong to me would be even more unloved than my own. I get it, that sounds mean. Is it less mean to deny how I feel, have a kid because it's expected of me, and turn out to be an uninterested party? Obviously not the way to go.
Today I saw two sides to parenting that really got engraved into my mind...
1. I was at an anti-fur rally and a family consisting of a mother, a father, a son, and a daughter walked by. The daughter who was about 6 asked her parents what was going on. The dad explained that the people were telling everyone about how animals were murdered in order to create fur coats and all. The daughter was completely intrigued and asked if she could go look. The parents allowed her to, despite the gruesome video, the faux dead fox, and the massive crowds surrounding them. I stood next to the parents in the freezing cold and watched for about 20 minutes as the little girl explored everything. The parents didn't put this down despite the father wearing leather shoes (as in, he didn't necessarily agree with the cause and yet he let his daughter learn) and they really encouraged and helped to inform her. It was the best parenting I have seen in a long time. I was very impressed and for a moment wished I had a child I could teach.
2. I was on the train and this couple was with their daughter. A woman stood up so the wife could sit down. The wife hesitated, as the father had the stroller, therefore, the seat was being offered to him. However, the father hissed at her to "sit down already" and she obeyed, then mocked him while rolling her eyes. When the man next to her got off the train, the father sat down in his place and they discussed what occurred. He was "embarrassed in public" because she hesitated and she felt it was weird to take the seat offered to him. He angrily whispered at her that he was "being polite!" This stupid bickering continued for about 4 minutes and then he made her smirk, they kissed, and forgave each other. I am going to guess these two weirdos are in couple's therapy. It was such a stupid fight leading to a very forced apology. Even the 4 year old daughter HAD to see right through it. While I was glad they made up, the initial conversation and fake nature of it all could not have made a great impression on the child. Besides, if that kind of thing happens in public over such a tiny detail, I can only imagine what occurs elsewhere over other issues.
Clearly it is not just a Freudian world where yo mama is to blame for everything, especially being that Freud was... well, Freud! Obviously that is a factor, though and unfortunately, we cannot control what others do. We can, however, try to smack reality into people. Considering how many people I see throwing away and abusing their dogs, I can't even brain how many people go into parenthood in the same way. This is what saddens and scares me. Also, two crazy people or two normal people of crazy descendants should really not have kids. Please do not.