Think of it as trickle-down karma. Children are the payback for what past generations endured with their children.
How many parents have uttered words along the lines of “You’ll get yours when you have children of your own?” A bit vengeful, don’t you think? Why do long-suffering parents wish their children experience the sometimes nasty things the fruits of their loins inflict on them?
Parent and child relationships should be, if not harmonious, at least beneficial on certain levels. Perhaps that harmony only exists during the time of cooing, laughter, diaper changes, and other joys of parenting and early childhood. However, contrary to popular belief that nature desires a balanced, the fates have other ideas. Consequently, there is a constant power play between the blood relatives and their offspring.
If we are lucky, there is a brief period of more or less harmony between the two factions. You could call it the lull before the tumultuous teenage years, which kick into high gear approximately at the age of thirteen. Give or take a year or two.
Sometimes the harmonious period never manifests itself. In which case, your child pops out of the womb combat-ready. If you raised or are in medias res of raising a contrarian child, be strong for this too shall pass.
Of course, this does not mean you do not love that child just as fiercely as you do a more good-natured offspring. It merely means that the parents should “gird their loins” and dig in for the long haul. Then focus on rearing independent future adults.
Nevertheless, sometime in the future, you will struggle to contain the triumphant smile trying to light up your face as the formerly combative urchin laments his or her struggles with raising an equally combative child of their own. Enjoy the moment before you make understanding noises. After all, we are only human, and it is human to gloat. At least once.
Our daughter is twice blessed. Her children are mini-mes. One is like she was years ago, and the other is mom, as she is today. Add to that fun mix the fact that they are teenagers. Good times. And yet, she is a terrific mother, and the three of them are the best batch of cookies ever created.
Since this writer had a European upbringing, she did not understand teenagers. Consequently, when she reached her wits end, she asked Hubby a critical question. “Is this normal behavior for their age, or should I be worried? More often than not, he would reply, “Yes.”
Fast forward to the present. Both of our children turned out to be amazing adults. Somehow, they managed to incorporate some of the lessons learned at their mother and father’s knee.
For one thing, they are independent, hard-working, and as stubborn as both of their parents. Considering they are descendants from a long line, on both sides, of stubborn stock, we could expect nothing less.
Although this COVID-19 pandemic makes it impossible to get together, we talk frequently.
The conversations tend to follow almost predictable routes.
First, we get past the obligatory, “How are you?” Then we get down to chronicling our activities since we last talked. Usually, this is the part where the children hear the latest Mom escapade or “troblem” (a combination of trouble and problem).
Mom’s stories or mishaps often revolve around her overwhelming need to clean things to the point that something breaks.
Sometimes a person can clean a kitchen sink too vigorously. Consequently, the under-sink cabinet flooded because the cleaning fanatic scrubbed all the putty away from the drain basket, resulting in a messy leak.
When our conversations turn to current affairs, also known as politics, the participants’ tempers flare. Call it The Clash of the Stubborn Titans. Mom is mostly conservative with a pinch of libertarian. Her daughter leans libertarian to liberal. And the son is liberal down to his pinky toe.
At times, the bouncing baby boy’s voice gets loud and mom cautions, “You’re yelling. Yelling does not make a convincing argument.”
We got what we wanted, strong-willed and independent children.