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Get to Know Your Parents

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51 Birch Street

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"Block has made a sad, delightful and half-accidental movie about his own parents which was the outstanding personal documentary at this year's (SXSW) festival... Profound and humane."

– Andrew O’Hehir, SALON.COM

Sara

My relationship with my parents is always changing.  More towards the better since I don’t live with them anymore!  I am not sure if I had a single moment where things changed between us and stayed that way, I feel like I am constantly looking at them with new perspectives as I mature and grow.  There was a moment though when I really felt what a strange and powerful sensation in must be to have a child and to love them so deeply.  My grandfather turned 80 a few years ago.  He has six kids, and 10 of us grandkids.  At one point during his 80th birthday party he turned around and looked at all of us eating, laughing, and ignoring each other, and he looked so shocked.  He stopped like a deer in headlights, it was as if he had never seen us before.  Then he smiled and sat on the edge of the couch, I swear it looked like the weight of his pride brought him down.  I don’t have any children, but imagine tending them, raising them, giving up so much for them!  Its no wonder parents are a little afraid to be themselves around us kids.  I’m sure it is scary to imagine exposing yourself to your children and discovering you aren’t enough for them, or aren’t who they would want their parents to be.  Parenthood is love at its most devout and most misunderstood.  That is the only moment I can think of that weighed heavily on me, watching my grandfather sink under the weight of his unrequitable love.

Comments

My dad who suffered Alzheimer’s had moments like your grandpa. I can picture that birthday party scene.

And I like your statement: “Parenthood is love at its most devout and most misunderstood.” Very wise for your age (which I would guess is between 18-24 or so?)

Thanks, Jan


By: jmhayward, on Sep 21, 2006

We were 3 sisters.  My two older sisteras were “Momma’s girls,” and I was “Daddy’s girl.” It seems that was always understood and accepted. After my retirement at 54, I delved into our family’s genealogy and, using the information my dad had furnished, I discovered things he did not tell, e.g. the birthday he’d told us was a lie. It happened when he was under age to join the USArmy in 1908, and he selected an earlier birthdate.  In the Syracuse NY public library, I stumbled upon a letter he’d written in 1910 from his Philippine Island military post to a Syracuse NY citizen. He asked for information about his lost family, and his letter was published in the Post-Stantdard newspaper. A further search uncovered no responses, but it revealed still more facts I hadn’t known.  The search goes on.


By: Mollie F. Howard, on Dec 07, 2006

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