Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Terri Schiavo case got me thinking. Of course, with all the publicity and posturing the only biological life forms not forced to think about it were sea slugs in the south Pacific. No wait, that would describe most politicians and media pundits. Maybe there weren't any life forms that managed to avoid it. Except, of course, all those people who are just trying to stay alive themselves and having a hard time of it. I guess it doesn't matter how many poor people starve to death or die unnecessarily because of bad water or inadequate health care as long as we can wring every single drop of emotion out of 1 middle class white woman in the United States. In case you can't tell, I don't think much of people who passionately care about every single life--as long as it belongs to someone just like them.

The person I really feel sorry for in this whole thing is Terri herself. I can't imagine that anyone would want to become the center of that kind of hurricane of hate, bitterness and self-serving anger. Terri, I hope you find blessings and peace in now.

Anyway, all this made me wonder about how well parents really know their kids. As a parent of teens, I like to believe that I know my kids really well, but if I'm honest I have to admit that I have no way of knowing if that's the truth or just my own personal fantasy. As a child, I will be quick to tell you that my parents never had the foggiest idea of who I was or how I felt. My own personal belief would be that was because they were very careful to only see me through a fog of how they wanted me to be. In fact, one of my own personal nightmare scenarios would be my well-intentioned parents fighting with my husband over what I would want if I were incapacitated. I can tell you right now that my parents would be wrong, and the husband that I loved and had chosen would be right. I can also tell you that my parents would never have believed that.

I guess that's why my gut response about Terri's parents is wondering how much was about their fantasies and needs and inability to let go of their adult child and respect her as an adult. When should a parent let go? What does it mean to let your little eaglets fly as adults? I guess that since my own daughter just turned 18, it's my turn to figure out.