Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Scary Parenting Thought

I tell the story all the time about how my Dad taught me to read. It's not a warm, fuzzy story. He used Clifford the Big Red Dog books. He determined how much I should read and then if I didn't get there, he wouldn't kiss me good night. Isn't that awful?

It's probably not true. I realized recently, that he probably did that once. One time. I was probably telling him I didn't want to read and being whiney about it. And he was probably tired and irritated and made a poor parenting choice. Or, shoot, maybe he was just kidding.

But, I'm willing to bet this wasn't something that happened repeatedly. I bet I've been hating poor Clifford for years no for no good reason.

Which, of course, makes me think of all the times I've gotten tired and lost my temper and made poor parenting choices. And it would just serve me right if Laney is well into the 30s before she realizes I wasn't always saying "Goddammit, Laney, we're LATE!" That only happened once.

Sigh. With that, I leave you with a little Philip Larkin. Ignore the third stanza. I think he exaggerates. Still, it's a good poem:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.