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Turning into Your Parents -- Invitation to Write #69

For Writers:

I'm in my 30s, and I still find myself wondering, "Why did my parents do that?"

In Rebecca Walker's second autobiography, Baby Love, she spends a lot of time asking the same question. Structured in the form of a journal, the autobiography chronicles her thoughts during the pregnancy of her first child. She thinks she will do things differently than her mother, but as I was reading along, I kept thinking, "Damn, girl. You're going to be no better than your mama!" Yes, her techniques might be "different," and she might go out of her way to avoid the things that her mother did that drove her, as a daughter, crazy. Truth be told, though, she's still going to mess up her kid in some not-so-dissimilar ways.

Why fight it? When you have a child, you join the parent club, and all parents will embarrass, eff-up, and fall short. By all means, don't make the same mistakes your parents made (if you can avoid them), but assuming you had typical, run-of-the-mill parents, don't expect to do any better job than they did. Because quite frankly, I bet you'll be pretty run-of-the-mill as a parent yourself.

Sadly in Rebecca Walker's case, she asked her mom for an apology for how she was raised one too many times, and her famous mother, Alice Walker, apparently decided to "quit" her job as a mother. And Rebecca, through her inaction, accepted the resignation, as if no interaction with her baby's grandmother is a sign of "maturity."

As a parent, you may be able to avoid the "mistakes" your parents made; how do you plan to avoid making your own mistakes?

"When I grow up I want to be a little boy." -- Joseph Heller


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