Friday, April 6, 2012

Biologically Bonded: Parents and Kids

Early in The Calling Gus compares his "tied-down" parental life to the free single life of other birds in the colony, temporarily longing for liberation.

I babysit often and enjoy it, but even I, not being a parent, not being with the kid for dinner and for bed-time routine and for morning-routing and for every other menial task in between, grow tired and occasionally lose my patience.  I wish the kid would stop pointing to every single little thing with genuine awe and interest and asking beautiful self-exploring socially-inclusive questions about it.  I wish sometimes that I didn't have to participate, I could just cart the kid from this point to that point, make sure he stays alive, and get paid.  But even THAT can be tiresome because the kid is dragging behind five paces and your arm from holding his hand is about to snap and he's wobbling between the street and the curb and he falls and scrapes his knee and starts crying.  And we're just trying to get to the car.

Every parent (that I know, at least) experiences this frustration at some point.  However, these parents are biologically programmed to give as much as they possibly can to their kids as frequently as they can.  He is a piece of you.  Your face is in his face.  If you want to yell at him, it's like yelling at yourself.  This makes the enormous sacrifice of being a parent bearable.  This is what keeps Gus, I'm sure, from flying away from Riley.   

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