Day 29 - Hands Off

January 7, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

David Simon and mother Dorothy Simon
“I was a hands-off parent,” Dorothy Simon told me. We met tonight at her daughter-in-law Laura's party remembering her recently deceased father, Ted Lippman.

I found Dorothy’s comment on parenting to be interesting and asked her what she meant. “I didn’t want to interfere too much because I didn’t want to mess things up,” she explained. “And I would have.”

Apparently, she did something right because both of her sons have been successful, one a doctor and the other an author, journalist and writer/producer of several televisions series. “There were no rules when they were growing up. They were my children and I knew they would be okay.”

I told Dorothy that my parents had been very strict with me, especially since I was the oldest of three daughters. My father just passed away in December, less than a week before Laura Lippman’s father. Dorothy had a look of genuine sympathy on her face as I shared my strict upbringing with her. My father had confessed that he thought he and and my mother had been too strict with me. I told him, “Yes, you were rather strict, but you did the best you could and I think I turned out okay.”

Dorothy told me to ask her son David if there had been any rules when he was growing up. “He will say no, except for one. The one rule was to not lie,” she predicted.

I left Dorothy to ask her son, curious if she were right. “David, your mother said I should ask you if there were any rules when you were growing up.”

“No, there were no rules,” answered David, “except for one. No lying.” He added, “ It didn’t mean that I never lied though. Okay, go rob a bank, but when the cops come around, I’d better tell them the truth about my robbing a bank.”

It was interesting to me to talk with a parent who had a different perspective from mine. I think I grew up okay but sometimes wonder what direction I would have gone in if there had been fewer restrictions. Parents can only do their best. I think my husband and I must have done something right as parents because our daughters have grown up as good and loving human beings...but then they might have done so even without us. Who knows.

Obviously, David Simon has done well with the absence of rules.

Today’s gift was a conversation with Dorothy Simon.
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