‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha! Ha!’
by Brandy D. Anderson
Being a parent is akin to being a mental patient. You’re always mentally exhausted, you usually have questionable fashion sense, you never get a hot meal, and your day often resembles something out of a sci-fi movie (think vomiting aliens or body snatchers). It’s usually a thankless job but it’s one most parents would never quit – see, mental patient. Kids are great for humbling us, though, aren’t they? I mean, we all grow up thinking we’re hot stuff when we’re teens, right? We know what we’re doing, we know how to fix the country, we know how to do things better than our parents. We all knew by the time we were going to reach adulthood we would have things figured out – and if not completely, well, we’d be pretty darn close. That was the difference between our generation and that of our parents. We were going to fix things and we were smarter than those oldies. Right.
And then you do grow up, and you have kids, and suddenly you realize you know absolutely nothing, not a single blessed thing. Suddenly there’s someone so much more important than yourself. And all of that “I know better than my elders” nonsense flies right out the window and you’re forced to face the reality that your generation is just as lost as every other one. And you know your kids will grow up with the same realization. The best thing about this seemingly bleak knowledge is that it’s actually freeing. That weight of the world, the feeling that you’re the only one who can fix everything, is lifted. You take joy in the small things – having your kid smile at you, spending a Saturday evening at home playing board games together, when your teen says, “thanks mom/dad” even in front of his/her buddies…and you see how these ‘small’ things are actually the biggest things in the world. And maybe you really can fix the world by raising a good kid, who in turn raises his/her own good kids, and so on. So if parenting really is akin to mental instability, well then, I say we should all take a page out of good ol’ Edgar Allan Poe’s book, and avoid those “long intervals of horrible insanity”.
Image Credit: Jack Nicholson, The Shining. Film.