All this talk about how you need to go through shit to get to where you are today is all well and good, but what about the kids? You wouldn’t be the person you are today, Claudia with the New Old Name, if you didn’t learn all you’ve learned from going through what you’ve gone through, so none of that should be considered mistakes.

Oh, really? So if I learned calculus the hard way— accidentally poking people in the eyes with my slide rule—I’d just sit satisfied with my tenure at MIT and not worry about a bunch of blind people?

My daughter has paid a lot of my tuition for my life education. My mom, a cool liberal 85-year-old young woman, had six kids chip in for hers.

I do believe that when we love we do the best we can with what we know at the time. We parented amidst faulty information and continue to do so, honing things as we learn. I’ll make new mistakes tomorrow that I’ll only see next year. But I’ll also see what loving a child so deeply can do.

It’s all about beautifully imperfect people fiercely loving each other and their kids, and love making this happen generation after generation. The result is a bunch of cool people, all of which are screwed up. Everyone is screwed up. The only people who aren’t are the people you don’t know that well. I’ve never crossed the barrier of getting to know someone when I didn’t say, “Wow! Tom is screwed up, too!”

To my daughter: If you have kids, your love and support will help them grow into wonderful uniqueness. But you’ll screw them up, too. Like you, me, and everyone else, their parents will not see everything clearly. If you don’t see things this way now, don’t worry—I didn’t catch on to this until I saw my flaws as a parent. When I saw that I made mistakes no matter how much I planned and tried not to, I was able to see that this was part of the nature of parenting, being parented, and of simply being human.