Origin of My Species


It happens to species. (Yes, even as a church-goin', God-lovin' Christian, I get this.)

It happens to culture. (From Clara Bow to Marilyn Monroe to Paris Hilton...)

It happens to child/parent relationships. Especially as the child (and parent, for that matter) gets older.

I've had two very interesting conversations lately -- one with each of my parents -- that have made me think.

I was chatting with my dad about some family photos I've recently come across. I've been made the defacto family historian and am trying to organize 75 years of chaos into some semblance of order so I can file, document, scan and scrapbook this stuff so that my great-great-great whatever doesn't have to do it. I off-handedly mentioned my nana, my maternal grandmother, and how in awe of her accomplishments I was -- she got her masters in the early 1940s, which was a pretty incredible feat for a woman to achieve at that time. My dad got a really warm tone in his voice as he talked about what great friends he and "Martha P." were. How it used to make my mother so mad when Nana would side with him in a discussion. How they would chat about this that and the other, separate from the rest of us.

I never knew that.

I did realize that they had a nice relationship, but not that they were such good friends. That's really cool to think about -- a man being buddies with his mother-in-law. Speaks volumes for the kinds of people they were and are.

And then today, I was talking to my mother about Will going to kindergarten tomorrow. How I'm a bit anxious, since the teacher I thought he was going to have (and the primary reason for me putting him in this school) is in fact, not going to be his teacher this year, as she's moved up to the next class level. And my good friend has put her little boy into a school other than Will's school, so we're without each other as class moms for the first time. My mom was being very helpful, giving good advice (somehow solicited advice always goes down better with me than the unsolicited kind) and telling me that it's OK for me to be anxious. And a little weapy... even to be more than a little weapy. She told me about dropping me off at kindergarten for the first day and then going to our neighbor's house for coffee and a good cry -- the neighbor having also taken her oldest that morning for his first day of kindergarten.

I never knew that.

For the first time, I can relate to my mother as a mother. Our parenting paths have been remarkably different, as hers was pretty standard issue, and mine -- not so much. But at this moment, we can share a common emotion -- the sending of our baby off to "real" school for the first time.

I'm rather liking learning these new little tidbits about my folks. It's helping me to see the nuances of their different components. Daddy as a son-in-law; Mother as, well, a mother. Although I'm not sure I'm ready to be as disclosing -- there are still some things they're not ready for. Like the time I took this road trip...

That one'll be for another time on another day. I'm not quite that evolved yet.

1 comment:

jason said...

It's quite an epiphany when the you start seeing them as people and not just "parents"
It's almost like meeting them for the first time, isn't it?

Beautiful post!