This Be The Verse (an excerpt) by Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
Despite the sentiment of the poem my folks did their best as parents. No one is perfect; we are all flawed for a variety of reasons. Most of our “issues” cannot be attributed solely to our mums and dads. Families provide our basic needs – food, clothing, shelter, love, strength, support. My parents gave all of this to me and my sister, Roo, – the building blocks to help us mature and become caring human beings.
Last year I missed my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary because I was in China. This year I missed my mother’s 85th birthday for the same reason. On July 26th my father will turn 85. I am in Montreal right now to spend time with my mother and father, my sister and her partner. There have been too many missed celebrations – especially since I have always felt that birthdays, notably, are important. I believe that it is the one day of the year when I can celebrate the fact that a family member or friend is a part of my life and I want her/him to take centre stage.
When my sister and I were children, our folks exposed us to a wide variety of experiences. They took us to museums, we went camping together, they read aloud to us and they encouraged us to play creatively. We were given the opportunity to go to camp and learn about independence. They took interest in our lives and worried about us (a lot sometimes). They only wanted the best for us. And with their good, hard work we turned out just fine. Just as they are fine people. All four of us are complicated, interesting, generous, and fun, if I do say so myself.
After 9 months overseas and three months back home in Boston I am visiting my family. Below are a small number of photos in which I will celebrate them – and particularly my parents – by turning the lens toward them.