I was born in the 50’s, became a teenager in the 60’s, left home in the 70’s and was chasing my dream in LA in the 80’s. The stages of my life were marked by inspiring songs and amazing films and books that spoke to me as I hurtled through life. So it is safe to say that when I became a mom in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I thought I was prepared to nurture and impart my wisdom to my young boy and girl. Instead this free spirit became an overprotective mama bear, fighting off the evils of the world and denying entry to any demon that presented at my door. No one was more surprised then I.
It is safe to say that despite growing up during the Vietnam years, I felt total optimism in the path of human destiny because of our ability to walk on the moon. Women were breaking out of stereotypes and taking control of their destinies and reproductive rights. The Beatles and Stevie Wonder were singing a new type of song. People protested openly for civil rights and an end to war. Flower power. Feminist. Peace, love, rock and roll. There was a new lexicon to my generation. Madonna was the face of young women staking their claim in the world. Bob Marley made music political. Star Wars, The Godfather, Bruce Springsteen. Life as portrayed by media was different, exciting and new.
So imagine my chagrin as I worried about what world my children would grow up in? Who would write books like The Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings for their generation? Who would their role models be? It was finally a relief to learn I hadn’t needed to worry so much. As I scrolled through TV stations, I found that Sesame Street, that cultural, educational icon of diversity was still a thing. So was a certain purple dinosaur. And although Disney’s heroines still got their prince, they read books and stood up for themselves along the way. Rugrats had a clear vision of the world as only children can. A book character named Harry Potter appeared. And a series called Goosebumps. Films came to the big screen based on books by Roald Dahl. Saturday nights with my kids was pizza and All That, Clarissa Explains it All and Are You Afraid of the Dark? Then 9/11 threw another wrench into my parenting skills. How do you talk to your children about the hate in the world? Why is there such deep prejudice against culture and race? What’s wrong with gay marriage? Why are children bringing guns into schools and shooting their classmates? If the new millennium has been a difficult time to be a child, it was even more difficult to be a parent.
But now from my perch of almost 60 years, I can safely say life is good. My beloved children are adults now, amazing young adults, adults who have clear values and love a wondrous variety of music and films and are excited about life. And their role models? It’s evident they have chosen well. In their lifetime, a black man has become president. A woman is running for president. Glass ceilings and stereotypes are breaking left and right. Sadly there is much that hasn’t changed and humans still have so far to go. And yet the kids are all right. Did I do that? Or was it despite my overbearing ways? Whatever it might have been, I am content. And ready to dial Taylor Swift’s latest CD onto my iPod.