Sunday, June 10, 2012
Through the eyes of a parent
Two infants lie side by side on their parent's laps, and I look on, gushing over their new baby deliciousness. They laugh as I reminisce about the days of being glued to the couch for the evening, juggling a baby at the breast while eating dinner one handed. I talk about this scenario with joy, forgetting the frustration at being literally trapped in one place while the world moved on without me.
My children have grown impossibly big. The new parents ask with astonishment if he is mine, the teen amongst the preschoolers, and I see that they cannot yet comprehend what it is to parent a child who no longer automatically reaches out to you, who has begun to see you as their equal and increasingly, the enemy.
I watch a video of myself as a child and I am shaken in a way that is hard to explain. I look at this child, myself at ten, through the eyes of a parent and I want to reach out and tell her how great she is. I think what a difference it would have made if I had understood this then.
On the radio, I hear that Fiona Apple reads parenting books all the time even though she has no plans to have children. The interviewer is perplexed, but she explains that she can learn from these books about how to parent herself. Instead of rolling my eyes at celebrity logic, I find myself agreeing.
My favourite aunt flies away and I am reminded what family feels like. And I want it back.