Sunday, June 17, 2012

Parents are People, Too (Happy Father's Day)

I remember the exact moment I realized that my grandmother is my mother's mother.  I mean, her mom, in the same way that my mother is my mom, and not just abstractly my grandmother.  I must have been about nine.  We had flown to San Francisco to visit my uncle, and he drove us from the airport to his house in Palo Alto; I was in the backseat with Nana and Mom was in the passenger seat while Mark drove.  Nana was nagging Mom about something - I can't remember what - and, after a while, Mom got frustrated, but Nana persisted.  Suddenly, Mom turned around to the backseat, rolled her eyes, and complained, "Mother!"

That's when I first truly grasped that my mom wore more hats than the one with which I was most familiar.  However, even into my late teens I still believed that "mother" was her primary role.  Over the past few years, though, I've come to understand that, while my parents love being my parents, they are people, too.

When our parents fail us - or what we, in our childish sense that we are the center of the world or, at the very least, the center of their world, consider failing - we react with disproportionate hurt and anger.  We hold true that our mothers and fathers are imbued with the innate knowledge of how to be the perfect parents; each time they behave in a way we consider contrary to this, we believe that they have actively chosen to disappoint us.  If you had told me, as a child, that my parents were fallible, I would have been heartbroken.

Now, interacting with my parents as an adult, I see that it is exactly their natural faults that make them such incredible role models.  What we don't realize as children is that our parents are constantly learning and growing, just as we are, and it is the trials they endure that allow them to set examples for us.  It does make me sad to think that my mother and father are not, in fact, perfect, but it makes me hopeful, too - because if they can be such wonderful parents while, essentially, making it up as they go along, it means that, one day, I might be able to do the same.

And so, having come to this in a terribly roundabout way, I would like to wish my dad a very happy Father's Day and to thank him for everything he has taught me over the years.  I love you so much, Daddy, and I'm so glad we're figuring this "family" thing out together.

with my father, 1987


  1. What a beautifully written post. Even now at my age, I don't think I've still fully grasped the fact that my parents are children as well. Not until my grandfather died a few years ago did I even really think about it until I the situation from a daughter's point of view instead of a granddaughter's. Happy Father's Day to your dad <3

  2. So so true. What a beautiful post! :)
    Hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Father's Day today!
    CoverGirl + Converse

  3. Love this, what a great post - and what a cute picture!


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