If I have children who meet my parents, they’ll never know them as I knew them. Those people are gone. They’ll not recognize the soft, cuddly, chubby Mom I grew up with, who wore few bras and had short curled hair. They won’t know my father with these strange eye magnifying glasses. He hasn’t said it yet, but I’m waiting. I wait for the phrase, “I’d like to be able to play with my grandchildren.” They won’t know them without the pains in their knees and backs. They won’t know them without those added years of I-could-have-done piling on guilt from time. They’ll only know the wrinkles, never to see how beautiful my Mom could be. And then they’ll die while my kids are in college, and my kids will care. But not really, they never really knew them before their minds went. Never had the chance. The kids were too young. They had me too late. It’s too late to know them.
That might not be bad after all. Maybe I can dull all they the messups they did to me through a filter for the next ones down. If they never meet the originals, they can’t spread the fire of self-hate they gave to their children. If I can’t see them, I won’t be them. I have a chance to be better for me and mine.