ONE ON THE SEESAW: The Ups and Downs of a Single-Family Parent by Carol Lynn Pearson

ONE ON THE SEESAW: The Ups and Downs of a Single-Family Parent

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In Good-Bye, I Love You (1986), poet-playwright Pearson wrote of her marriage to a homosexual, its breakup, and of his death (from AIDS), surrounded by the four loving children he had fathered with her. Here, in a series of delicately crafted vignettes, she reveals how she and her diversely gifted children adapted to the seesaw world of a single-parent family. The experiences Pearson relates are so universal that they will ring chimes with married as well as single parents. What parent, for instance, has not faced-off with a child determined to turn the home into a miniature zoo? Pearson reasoned, argued, and succumbed, ending up with a stray Labrador mix, a keeshond pup, goldfish, hamsters, a turtle, and a six-foot boa constrictor won in a raffle. A compulsive ""teacher,"" Pearson faces giggles and inattention as she tries to turn books and movies into object lessons, and fierce humiliations at the hands of educators who charge (wrongly) that her younger son has vandalized a classroom or (accurately) that her older son is not living up ot his ""potential."" She tries to be open and honest even when her older daughter (at age 12) asks, ""What's oral sex? Is that when you just talk about it?"" Like many of us, she often yells, tears her hair, and feels she is failing as a parent. She finally decides to live as though her children have ""not been sent for me to mold"" but ""as clay for me to warm so that they can better mold themselves."" Insightful, wise, and often funny: a fine supplement--and antidote--to more formal child-rearing manuals.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1988
Publisher: Random House