Parenting. It’s the process of taking care of your own children until they are old enough to take care of themselves, and is arguably the most difficult job one could have. In the play, The Fantasticks, two fathers with a knack for gardening sing the song, “Plant a Radish,” in which they compare the unpredictability of raising kids to the certainty of planting vegetables. The Fathers had created an elaborate scheme to make their children fall in love, yet their children’s unpredictable behavior forced the plan to backfire, leaving the fathers to question the task of raising kids. Similarly, I have witnessed my own parents struggle with the uncertainty of parenting and how it affects more than just the direct parent-child relationship.
When a child is born new life is brought into the world. Not a radish or carrot or beanstalk, but a baby. I was born on the twenty-first of December 1994, just two years after my parents had been married. It was a new experience for the two of them, and something I’m sure they were both nervous and excited for. Just two years later my brother was born, and two years after that my sister. Three new lives put into their hands to mold into productive people who could help society. However, much like the fathers in the The Fantasticks, I’m sure my parents were questioning the certainty of the children they were raising. In The Fantasticks the two kids, Matt and Luisa, compulsively change
their minds about the love they share for each other. They begin to notice each other’s flaws and end up creating a feud, leaving each other’s fathers in complete and utter disbelief. The fathers question the entire role of parenting. They begin to wonder why kids aren’t reliable like a vegetable and why they have to be so erratic. Over time it becomes apparent that my parents and the fathers are one in the same. My parents became so overwhelmed with the inconsistencies of children and parenting that their relationship became strained. They were forced to get a divorce.
Just like every other child who goes through a divorce, my brother, my sister and I were told that it was not our fault. My siblings ate it up, but I was smart enough to know the truth. It didn’t bother me. It gave me something to learn from. The complications came later, when I was forced to raise my siblings myself. My mother was sick and my father could only do so much. I was now the second parent, going out into the world alone like Matt, and learning the complications and uncertainties of parenting like his father, Hucklebee, at the same time. I saw through the eyes of a parent for the first time, and I too wished that I could simply plant a seed and get something predictable and reliable out of it. Nonetheless, parenting is an experience that one can learn so much from, especially when you become a single parent. This happened to my father when my mother passed. Now my experience is in direct correlation with the play, a single father raising...