Monday, December 31, 2007

Crummy Parent

Being a parent is fairly difficult business and some of us are clearly not fit to be one. Minna's Crummy Mummy And Me is a case in example and sadly fact and fiction are not far apart at all.

Thanks to J, I am getting to read modern juvenile fiction and learning to see the world from a child's vantage point. It is so easy to forget how I used to think and feel at her age and sometimes even being able to remember does not help because our circumstances are so dissimilar that the what applied for me does not even remotely apply to her.

Read two poems recently on a similar theme - reflecting back on their parents as adults and the verdict is quite similar to young Minna's in Crummy Mummy And Me - "I don't think my mum's fit to be a parent, really I don't". I would rather that J told me I was a disappointment as parent now than twenty years later when I would have no way left to undo the mistakes.

My Papa's Waltz
by Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing is not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

Flash Cards
by Rita Dove

In math I was the whiz kid, keeper
of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,
master, my father said; the faster
I answered, the faster they came.

I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,
one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.
The tulip tree always dragged after heavy rain
so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.

My father put up his feet after work
and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.
After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark

before sleep, before a thin voice hissed
numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.
Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.

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