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Parents, by jenny davis

Submitted by on June 9, 2010 – 12:00 pmComments

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My parents used to know on which axis the world spun no matter how off kilter things got.  But lately I’ve asked them “what was it you said life was supposed to be like? This is harder than I thought.”  And their answer, and this is a direct quote from Mom, “Let’s forget all that stuff I taught you back then, I really had no idea what I was talking about.”  

Listen. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth but it’s disquieting to know that my folks, who used to have it all figured out and at a lion’s pace for that matter, came to the enlightened realization that they never knew what they were talking about.  Is it crazy I have a hard time accepting this?  My little models of the world tell me they know nothing except how much they’ve never known? 

In the mornings I pry myself out of bed to come to a job in Hollywood half the globe would kill for (I’ve been reminded by my super-supportive friends), and for some asinine reason I could care less about it. When I ask the ‘rents for guidance, what I should do with my career, what I should do about my aspirations that seem to waver weekly or about my relationships, I get Hmm. You’ll figure it out, you always have.


Since when did they become so confident in me?  Last I checked I was the one who knew nothing.  Yep.  There.  Just checked and looks like I still am. Are they telling me that they made up answers back then, is that what’s going on?  The guidelines (and inhibitions) they instilled in us kids were based on momentary, situational, opinionated, truths?  In other words, if they’ve learned that experience grows the kind of wisdom that doesn’t lay claim to anything including itself, my children will surely look to me for the same kinds of answers and I too will come up with momentary solutions only to one day disown them, just when my kids are old enough to ask.  This is a very insane spiral. Very. Very insane.


On good days, I look at my life as an adventure.  My parents don’t critique, criticize, or challenge all my stupid choices anymore.  I am that girl, free on the beach stumbling over her own happy, drunk toes.  On good days, I am ok with being seemingly eternally lost, afraid of finding solace in habit for fear of becoming one of those people whose brows furrow permanently.  On bad days, though, there is no one but me dwelling on my mistakes.  No one but me, aware of what I should have done, wish could have been or what I might have known had I tried.  No one reminds me to go to bed. To brush my teeth.  To eat my greens.  Why I have to go to this job every day.  So I make up my own answers.  


Is this what my parents did?  Made up answers when their little girl came tugging on their pant-legs asking “why? why?”  When did we - my parents and I – turn into each other?  

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  • Elly

    My dad calls me "the golden girl" 'cause he thinks everything always goes my way. Even though it doesn't. There's something about our parents' generation...they look at their kids through rose-tinted glasses? Don't know why...

    Interesting post!!

  • Sophie

    i've had that EXACT same conversation with my parents. where i ask them for words of wisdom and they say "eh, i think you're doing pretty well." when i'm not REALLY. but maybe as a parent you think your kids forever have their lives AHEAD of them, so what's a few beginner's mistakes? even when that beginner is in fact 35 and needs to be making better decisions.

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