Adam Lanza’s Parents Didn’t Know Him — Do Any of Us?

Could I not know her one day?

The question I keep reading this week, in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is “didn’t they know?” Didn’t shooter Adam Lanza’s parents know that there was something off about their son, something sick, twisted, evil lurking in their son? I’ve written twice — one each for Peter Lanza and Nancy Lanza —  pleas for compassion for two people being blamed for a crime they didn’t commit.

I feel for the Lanzas as a parent. And I can’t help but look at Adam Lanza and feel sad and more than a little scared.

Do any of us truly “know” our kids? Is there some secret to understanding our children, some secret I can unlock?

I wouldn’t want my daughter to go unknown.We all crave understanding, we all want someone to know us.

For me, that person is my husband. I’ve found only recently that often when he speaks the words issuing forth from his mouth are already echoing in my brain. It isn’t always this way, but lately we have been on some parallel, where anything he says — be in a movie quote or a snide comment about a character on a TV show — was already in my head, ready to come out.

Being understood, I must admit, is comforting. It’s fulfilling.

For a time, for most of us, we got that comfort from our parents. They knew that we liked our sandwiches crust-off, preferred white American over yellow, that we needed the bedraggled stuffed rabbit to fall asleep.

And then, one day, they don’t get it.

This is teenagehood. Your hormones are roiling. You can’t make sense of yourself, so how is anyone else going to? You are confused. Scared. Often alone.

For some, it passes, or at least you find someone else to keep a running tally of your likes and dislikes in their head. My husband knows I’m the rare vegetarian who doesn’t eat red peppers, for one, that I prefer hot cocoa to coffee.

For others, the relationship with parents returns, solidly intact. Those  people will sit at family gatherings this holiday opening gifts from parents who just “get them” even know that they’re adults with families of their own. Because that’s what it’s like for some families.

And then there are the other adults, those who are mysteries to their parents, to the people who raised them. Some because their parents don’t care enough to know them, others because, well, that happens.

It’s the “that happens” that scares me. That one day I could not know my daughter, not really.

Do you feel like your parents “know” the real you?

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?


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