Windows & Gates
My mother called me last week to ask why Mini doesn’t like going to school.
That was the first topic she mentioned, anyway, and the one that set the tone for the rest of our conversation. We would switch to hypothetical drop-in visits, my brother’s impending wedding, whether or not my dog is to have ACL surgery, all the while me adjusting, and readjusting, my hurt and then, later, anger about the way she chose to start the conversation, several times over the course of a ten-minute conversation. Did she say it to hurt me, or was it just something she didn’t understand? How can I be that woman — the one who, at 36, and-now-almost-37-fuck!-let’s-face-it-I’m-pushing-40-now still resents her parents for things that happened years ago? Doesn’t everybody do the best they can, given the tools they have available to them?
I don’t usually talk about my parents here. Somewhat out of respect for them as private people who don’t necessarily want their lives deconstructed on the internet. Somewhat to avoid conflict. But mostly, if I’m telling the truth, mostly it is because I really don’t want to be that woman. I hate that woman. I wish she would just get over it already.
Occasionally, one or the other of my parents will peek in here, and catch a little glimpse of my life. But sometimes, these little windows they see are worse than if they had never looked at all. We relate in fits and starts, half-truths and omissions. I don’t think my parents know what to do with me as I exist here — it is an Anna they really do not know. It is a me that I rarely let them see. Because I don’t trust them with it.
Did the window through which my mother saw Mini’s day at school make it look like he was a child who did not enjoy going to school? Did she see an introverted child, sitting patiently on the steps for an absent mother to come and fetch him, listening intently for the jingle of her car keys while the other kids laughed, played, sang John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith? Did she imagine it? Was it the same window through which I looked? What if her window was the more accurate one?
Parenting changes you in so many ways. You don’t expect some of them. I never thought I would be revisiting my own childhood every time I went to pick up Mini from school. I never thought I would be the one faced with these kinds of dilemmas and the politics of leaving a child at the gate.
Hey everybody, we’ve got a new featured blogger ad up and running! Please check out Marcy at The Glamorous Life Association in the sidebar ASAP! If you’d like to participate in the ABDPBT Featured Bloggers Program, please email me and I’ll put you on the waiting list.