I wonder which one of my kids will end up a crackhead.
No really, I do. Because you know one of them will.
No matter how great of a mother I am (and you know I am), these damn kids will turn out exactly, well, the way they’re supposed to turn out. And just the rule of numbers indicates that one of them will most likely completely and totally BLOW IT. And with me as a mother, the probability exponentially increases.
Wait. What’s that I hear?
You think you have some control over how your kids turn out?
No, you don’t.
(By the way, I’m not really talking to you, so don’t get offended. I’m more responding to one of the cunning and clever (and obviously silly) voices in my head.)
Thanks to food, I learned right away that my actions have limited influence over the way my kids turn out. I started both my son and daughter on the same food (avocado) at the same age. I fed them the same things (whatever I ate, ground up in the same damn food grinder (!)). I gave them no processed sugar until 2. I fed them mainly meats and other protein and non-sweet vegetables. For dessert, they would get fruit. AND YET, my daughter, Ava, will pretty much only eat meat and starches. She gags when she cleans pumpkins on Halloween. My son will only eat fruit and vegetables. We have to bribe him “when your meat is gone, you can have your zucchini.” Together, they have a very balanced diet.
You see? That ain’t my fault.
That’s THEM. Being THEM.
And one of THEM is likely to look around at this world and say to themselves “ah, fuck it. Let’s have a beer.”
And then there’s the case of my brother and I.
We were raised by the same two people in the same damn house with the same religion in the same socio-economic strata with the same ethics and education.
And yet, he did wood-working in high school while I dropped acid before chemistry class; he got his research published as an undergrad while I gallivanted drunk around Barcelona, “studying abroad;” and ultimately, he went on to an ivy league medical school while I had babies I couldn’t afford and tried my hand at whiskey-induced homelessness. At the time, I thought I was some badass rebel renegade and he was a “square.”
I see things differently now.
But it’s nobody’s fault I turned into a fuck up.
Who’s got two thumbs and complete responsibility for this shit?
That’s right. Me.
I had all the same potential. I was given the same gifts and guidance and love. I just learn differently. Or maybe I just don’t learn at all. Or maybe there’s a side of me that just ain’t right. Or maybe in a former life my brother was a crazy rebel rockstar expatriate writer drunk who tried it all and lost it all and therefore learned what I had to learn in this life…so he started out a little more grounded, a little more adjusted. A little more there. Or MAYBE, I’ll never know.
And MAYBE, it’s all just the way it is.
And it’s all exactly as it should be.
Wait. Shhhhhhh. What did you say ?
You think your parents made you what you are? And if they had been X you’d now be Y and therefore it’s THEIR FAULT?
Oh, sparkle face.
Get your head out of your ass. You are what you are because you haven’t changed yet and your life is what it is because of the decisions you’ve made.
…so…all schizophrenic monologues aside…I’m just sittin’ here gearing up (in my own special way) for one of my kids to think she’s a rebel badass and totally blow it, all the while blaming me and my poor parenting, until she [suddenly and to my endless relief] removes her head from her ass and sees things differently from her new, elevated [and vastly brighter] perspective of non-ass…suddenly realizing squares aren’t that bad, and, come to think of it, neither was her mother.
So she’ll hang out for a bit in grown-up land, then one day she’ll call her mother, telling her she loves her, and thanking her, for being alright.
And her mother will say “I’m glad you’re okay, baby. I was worried about you.”
(And by the way, sorry you turned out just like me.)
And the daughter will say “it’s okay, mom, we all gotta learn somehow.”
And then they’ll be in it together. Just maybe as it should be.