The Parent Trap

I’m a good six months away from being a dad and the experience is already giving me some new perspective on the world.

I’m not that old. By most accounts, I’m very young. This is true despite the fact that at my company’s recent Christmas party as Brick House came on and various peoples got up to shake their groove thangs one of my techs, a 21-year-old, looked at me very earnestly and asked “So, is this like your generation’s party music?”

In spite of my youth, I am going to be a father. This is something normally reserved for adults. My entire life, parents have been people who are older than me who, by virtue of their greater experience in life, outrank me. Suddenly, this entire ranking system has either entirely broken down or enveloped me completely, depending on how you look at it. It’s making me think about parents in a very different light. Specifically, my parents.

My parents were only a couple of years older than I am now when they had me and though the times, they are achangin’, it can fairly be assumed that they were living a life not unlike my own. They had hobbies and friends and evening plans that had nothing to do with entertaining me. They were just like me, and let me assure you, I am totally awesome. Ergo…

So much of our perception of our parents is forged in the infernal fires of adolescence, when our brains don’t work right and we are all assholes. What we tend to recall is that our parents are the rulemakers. They are the boundaries that delineate the course of our lives and depending on how they handle things we may remember fondly that they really straightened us out when we needed it, or we remember that they would just not stop being all up in our grill about things. Either way, we remember them as a point of authority by and large. If we’re lucky, when we get a bit older we can befriend our parents and the relationship evens out into something that it should really resemble all along.

Remember that there was a time when your parents were everything to you, and you were everything to them. They took time out of their lives to have you, and reshaped everything they do as a result. For years, you are very literally incapable of surviving without them and your eventual separation from them into an independent life is at once their greatest triumph and tragedy.

I’m not going to make a sappy entreaty for you to pick up the phone and reach out and touch someone. Don’t forget that your parents have been here before. There was a time, really not that long ago, that they were you.

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