A space to reflect on my readings and musings, scattered and rescattered


Meet the Parents

This post feels really unfinished, but I want to put it up anyway. I've been reflecting on how much our families influence us lately, especially given the election today and my differences with my family. We probably won't talk today, it's too uncomfortable. Only my grandparents will be voting for Obama. My parents and I can't even talk about politics anymore. It's just too painful, we're just too different and too invested and emotional about our own ideas.

Anyway...what I write about below was prompted when I met the grandparents of the little one below--the parents of a good friend of mine. The significance of "Meet(ing) the Parents" much more than a silly movie trick to promote awkward situations, it's actually pretty intense in real life and not just in dating relationships. Meeting someone's parents tells you a lot about them. It's always so interesting to me what I learn about my friends when I finally meet their families. When you're younger and you and your friends still live at home, it's so much more natural to get to know your friend's parents (at least it was for me). Meeting the parents was much more routine and seemed more like a part of life, than a source of precious information about my friends and what makes them tick. It was just ordinary. I didn't think about it much beyond, Oh, Jess's mom is "just like that" or Ben's dad "won't let him stay out late." The family dynamics were also visible, even if I wasn't openly reflecting on them. I was noticing. As we get older, things change, we build our own families and networks, and we are more detached from those original shaping influences.

Yet evidence of the influence of those original family networks is still visible. When I met my good friend's parents last week, I was overwhelmed by how much more I felt like I knew/understood about her. Her folks were hilarious and charming and politically engaged and interacting with one another in very overt, almost caricatured ways at times, relishing in their interactions with one another. The way her parents interacted with me was also very telling, especially alongside the Yiddish Zeyda (Grandpa) tee-shirt her dad was wearing as well as his role as nurturer and his pride in nurturing the little one.

These musings are also making me think of Open School night at UAMA, about how much I feel like I learned about my students in seeing them with their families and loved ones for a matter of moments. "Meet(ing) the Parents" is certainly complicated than a the Hollywood gimmick, but I'm left with few words that do sufficient justice to explain exactly what I learned, even though I know I learned a lot.


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