Tuesday, July 28, 2009
BUG LIFE: Parenthood
oil on linen
I have the greatest respect parents. Never took the plunge myself, although I have been mom to two German Shepherds, two cats, one rabbit and presently our Chocolate Lab, Devlin, the Wonder Dog. I learned the hard way that that level of responsibility is about all I can handle.
When I was sixteen, my Mom wanted to make sure I was employed over the summer and toward that end, she accepted a job for me that I will never forget. Our family dentist and his wife, also a friends of the family, were planning a trip to Europe for the summer and wanted to leave their toddler son with someone they knew and trusted. Before I could object, a crib appeared in my rather cozy bedroom, along with a huge box of toys, clothes and diapers. Little Douglas moved in on a Saturday. I wanted to move out the following Sunday. Without knowing it, my mother had effectively put an end any hope she had for becoming a grandmother. It was the very worst summer of my life. The responsibility of a ten month old was something I was completely not ready for. I was depressed, tired, resentful and cried all the time. As we all know, a teenager isn't wrapped all that tight anyway and little Dougie pushed me right over the edge. He was simply adorable and I took very good care of him, but when his parents returned home and retrieved him, I knew motherhood was not for me. Even during my trial marriage, when it was decided we'd produce offspring, I shut down and never discussed it again.
Are the caterpillar parents rearing up, bursting with pride over the little one they're hovering over or are they overbearing and impossible to please? Are they patient and loving or angry and withholding? Are they teaching the little one how to take care of himself or are they teaching him to depend totally on them? I see both sides, good and bad. They did the best they could with what they knew at the time and I'll be forever grateful to them. I rather like how I turned out.