Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Me, myself and Emily

We endeavor, as parents, to send our children out into the world better people then we, ourselves, would claim to be. We strive to put right in our children the sins of our parents because as Philip Larkin proclaimed: 

"They f*ck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you."

With every generation that is born, there are parents fumbling and stumbling their way through. Trying desperately to teach their children, trying hopelessly not to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. And yet so much of who we are is a reaction to the world around us and so, just as our parents did with us, we will inevitably leave our mark on our children. 

Having grown up in not the most conventional of households (less said about all that the better) and with my mother and father separating when I was fourteen, my relationship with my father has always been a very strained one. We just never really clicked, I have learnt, with age, to except it and him just as they are. However it left me with a urgent need to ensure that the father of my child, whoever he may be, would be everything to my child that my father could never be to me. This above all other things was of extreme importance to me.

My mother relayed to me the fact that she never felt particularly settled or secure as a child, what with an alcoholic father and a workoholic mother (by necessity), the arguments, the constant tension, the abandonment of by her mother at the age of 11 (?) and her return only to be moved 200 miles south to the coast where she knew no-one, spoke with a funny accent and no longer got to see her father. So it became of great importance to my mother that her children felt secure, safe and cherished. And she tried her utmost to achieve this through her actions, words of encouragement and her support. Shame she married a man that didn't want children, but 'hey' nobody's perfect. All joking aside, she definitely strived to improve the lives of her children to make their world just a little brighter and a little warmer then hers had been. And with every generation that is what we strive for and who knows if we continue maybe one day we will have a race of people in complete harmony with each other and themselve. Well we can dream, right?!  

Any way you look at it, the great debate of nature versus nurture can continue and you have to wonder what mark you will leave on your children?

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