October 17, 2011

"Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now."

"In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is."

34 comments:

campy said...

Wow. So wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

@campy Try actually reading the essay at the link and then tell me that you're pleased with yourself for calling this woman "so wrong."

Quayle said...

Being human, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my neighbor today. Now. In fact, for any person, anywhere, that’s all there is.

MadisonMan said...

One truth about good parenting: You will lose your kid, whether it's to life or (as in the linked case) to death. So yes, love them today, let them have that as a protective shield against the world.

Chip S. said...

There can't be any greater sorrow.

raf said...

let him go

Difficult to do with any child, but necessary.

wv: turmil. Yes.

ndspinelli said...

Well, you know I'm not an ass kisser, professor. This woman is so right. Having been a teacher and a coach too many parents project all of their failures and desires on their kids.

My parents loved me unconditionally and allowed me and my siblings to find our own paths. And, my parents were ethnic, blue collar products of The Depression, not hippies. That's how we raised our kids..and many uberparents scoffed. It did bother my bride some to be scoffed @ by people. However, I also learned from my parents that the truest liberation is not giving a rats ass what people think. Just challenge yourself every day to do what's right, and those who judge can go shit in their hats!

ex-madtown girl said...

Heartbreaking. Sitting on the couch next to my two kids while reading this, I had to quickly wipe the tears away. Every so often a flash of suffocating fear washes over me at the idea of losing one of them - but to live with the knowledge of the impending, unavoidable loss? I honestly can't imagine. The bravery required, the strength......

ndspinelli said...

We have a dear friend who had her 4 year old sister die when she was 7 year old. As an adult she had a son die @ birth and a 2 year old daughter die of congenital heart problems after 2 trips to Stanford for heart surgeries. Whenever, I start feeling sorry for myself I think of this sweet young woman. She moves forward, has adopted twins and a birth son now. There is a metaphorical limp in her gait from her losses. But she loves her kids intensely, and understands better than just about every person walking this planet just how precious they are.

campy said...

Read it? But it's the NY Times!

Henry said...

I read that article over the weekend. Heartbreaking.

But what MadisonMan says is also absolutely true. The three-year-old who is now my nine-year-old is gone forever. We keep small folios of our kids' artwork. I edit them fairly ruthlessly. I'm not maintaining some kind of archeological dig, just a few iconic remembrances. I added and removed some work yesterday. As usual I found myself asking "why did I save this particular scrawl? Why this watercolor blotch?" But I also some familiar pictures and remembered exactly how exciting, or funny, or disastrous the moment was that produced the picture.

Joe said...

Henry said: "The three-year-old who is now my nine-year-old is gone forever."

An interesting way of putting it. As the father of two grown daughters, I understand the point. You want your children to grow and mature while still missing their former selves.

E.M. Davis said...

My advice to new parents is to take a lot of pictures, because you won't remember.

What was the difference between two and three? What was he/she really like at 4 or 5?

I cannot fathom losing a child.

traditionalguy said...

The desire of most children is a parent that will listen to them and just spend time together doing things with them.

They are all different and very interesting people.

When time with them is limited, it makes it sweeter.

Unfortunately narcissists can't do that no matter how much time they have because love is a giving of your real self.

John said...

Amen, Amen and again Amen.

Second on the list is telling them. Yes, you should be showing them. Yes, it should go without saying. But a parent should never let a day go by without explicitly telling the child, even an adult child, that you love them.

Not. One. Day.

The rest is details. Important of course. But details.

John Henry

edutcher said...

I think all good parents are dragon parents, but, sad to say, there are a lot of bad parents.

E.M. Davis said...

My advice to new parents is to take a lot of pictures, because you won't remember.

What was the difference between two and three? What was he/she really like at 4 or 5?

I cannot fathom losing a child.


Extend that to all ages.

And all I can say, because it happened to the Blonde, is it never goes away.

Kit said...

but, sad to say, there are a lot of bad parents.

I'd say there are a lot of parents making bad choices. For the most part, I give folks the benefit of the doubt - most are doing the best the know - and all start from a place where the learned from their own.

J Greathouse said...

One day at a time,that is how greatness is built up too.

edutcher said...

Kit said...

but, sad to say, there are a lot of bad parents.

I'd say there are a lot of parents making bad choices. For the most part, I give folks the benefit of the doubt - most are doing the best the know - and all start from a place where the learned from their own.


That, too, but I meant in the sense of a lot of people who really hate their kids and treat them like dirt.

Amy said...

Heartbreaking story. But I wonder - why did the test come out negative - twice - if she had to be a carrier in order for her son to get the disease? I wish she had addressed that question.

Quayle said...

But a parent should never let a day go by without explicitly telling the child, even an adult child, that you love them.

Not. One. Day.


And a parent should not get into bed without reviewing the day and how they interacted with their kids.

And if they realize they've been a bonehead, going and waking the kid up and apologizing for being said bonehead, and asking for their forgiveness.

And my experience is that it always comes without hesitation.

Henry said...

In regards to bad parents and good parents I've always treasured Sippican Cottage's simple test: Parenting is pass/fail.

ndspinelli said...

Chris Rock does a hilarious bit about fathers/daughters. His take is if your daughter ends up "on the pole", you failed. If she's not a stripper..you passed.

rocketeer67 said...

What an absolutely heartbreaking story.

As for bad parenting, I'd say that I've noticed a whole heck of a lot of parents spending too much time reading parenting books, and not enough time really getting to know their actual, living, breathing, non-theoretical physical children, and exaperatedly wondering why the parenting books are apparently wrong and what to do about it.

Jennifer said...

Well. I may now march straight upstairs, throw myself on the kids' bed and never let go.

bagoh20 said...

Losing a child is bad enough, but losing them everyday for 3 years? My God!

She mentions her lost dream of him getting perfect SATs or a Harvard diploma. I don't get why people think such things are what they want to see in their child. I would hope for a kind, strong, self sufficient person of character. Being "smart" or having a college degree tells you little of what you have added to the world through your child. It's a low bar for dreaming. Dream of goodness - that's true success.

Our education system seems to be trying harder than ever to instill goodness in children and young adults, but failing more dramatically than ever. Methodology?

Lyle said...

Lovely article. Big hug to those people.

Locomotive Breath said...

Had the tests come back positive, would she have aborted the child she now claims to love so much?

Had the tests come back with a false positive would she have aborted a normal child?

Fred Drinkwater said...

Henry:
Oh yeah, I remember SC's pass/fail test. Hell's bells.

My dad used to "joke" that he'd consider himself a successful dad if all 5 kids got to age 21 with none in jail. He passed! (I have not quite passed this test yet, myself. 18 months to go.)

Somewhere back in the usenet era I read a note to the effect that there are two kinds of Moms: those who sometimes think about tossing their kid through the nearest window, and those who do it. (I pass this one, too!)

Strelnikov said...

And she gets paid for doing this?

holdfast said...

We came pretty close to losing a son at 3 months (meningitis). I am sure that had it happened I would have been devastated, but at the time I felt oddly detached - partly because I didn't really feel that I "knew" him. From what I've seen, Moms fall instantly and completely in love with their kids, whereas Dads take some time to get to know them. Of course, 2 years later I cannot imagine life without the little dude and his outsized personality.

JAL said...

Hey Professor -- I think campy meant this child dying, this parent losing so much, so now, is so wrong.

At least that's how I read him /her.

At 18 months Emily knows him well.

I have two grandchildren 17 months old.

John Lynch said...

Death is awful. Life is tragic. Some people figure it out. The author has.

Joan said...

We enroll our children in music class or take them to Mommy and Me swim class because we hope they will manifest some fabulous talent that will set them — and therefore us, the proud parents — apart.

This made me wonder, does the author get it, now? If she has another child someday, without a fatal genetic disease, will she enroll the child in classes so she can be proud? Why not send the kid to class so he can learn, and meet other kids, and have fun?

They all have to make their own way in the world, eventually. A child's purpose is not to make his parents proud. Why did it take having a child with a fatal disease for this woman to realize that?