Forrest Gump’s mother likened life to a box of chocolates. A more appropriate analogy may be life is like a potluck dinner. Everyone brings what they have to the table. No one can be expected to bring something they don’t possess. Likewise, parents bring what they have to give to their children. Most everyone has issues with their parents’ skills and are careful not to repeat the mistakes. The majority of parents feel pretty smug about their parenting skills until their own children are grown. Although they have no children of their own, in their twenties the offspring begin to share their vast knowledge with the parents, careful to point out each parenting mistake made during their childhood. It is not until the cycle of life is complete that these enlightened ones learn that they made just as many mistakes with their children as did their own parents.
Being sixteen and nineteen years of age at the time of my birth, my parents had little to bring to the table. Their ages alone were enough of a stumbling block. My dad’s mother was fond of telling the story of how he rocked me to sleep by moving my cradle back and forth with his foot as he sat reading a comic book. My Dad liked to tell the story of my mother getting angry with him and going for a walk. This sounded like a good plan, but she would walk until she was no longer angry and unfortunately too tired to walk back home. She would call the house, and he would go get her. They were typical teenagers trying to survive in an adult world.