Not long after R. was born, someone took a picture of her, lying on my chest in the hospital, breastfeeding. I had one arm cradling her, and my other hand was resting near her face, in perfect view of the camera. The first thought that came to my head was, “my God, I have my mother’s hands.”
It turns out, that’s not all my parents passed down to me. I find R’s full name (Mom loved to middle-name us) coming out of my mouth all the time. I find myself instituting rules because that was what my parents did. And honestly, I’m not too upset about the whole thing. I actually look forward to the day I can say “Because I said so.” Be afraid, R., be very afraid.
I had a great childhood. I have wonderful memories of summer evenings playing wiffleball in the driveway, winter sledding trips to Philips Park and building leaf houses in the fall. I was raised with appropriate amounts of fear, love and respect for my parents – fear of disappointing them and a respect for their authority. They had high expectations, and I wanted nothing more in life than to fulfill them.
We didn’t talk about politics and we never discussed major social issues like race or gender – we were left to form our own opinions on those subjects, based on the values they taught us. It was assumed we would go to college. So while a lot of people swear to God they will never become their parents (including me in my diary 18 years ago), I think that if I were as great at being a parent as my mom and dad were, R. will be in pretty good shape.
Because I said so.
This is in response to a writing challenge posted on The Mom’s Daily Dose Secret Awesome Group of Awesome Blogging Power posted by Jessica.