Friday, August 9, 2013

DS9: Sons and Daughters

I've written a lot about my life on this blog--my childhood, my parents. Star Trek is a natural part of my life as it is/was a part of my parents' lives so I can't help but write about my family when I talk about it. In a family of Trekkers, many of my fondest memories with my parents are those of watching Star Trek with either or both of them but especially my dad. Of course, while my dad and I have a lot in common--while we both love Star Trek and bond over geek stuff--that doesn't mean that there's isn't a sea of uncharted, uneasy, unsettled emotions between us.

I thought about that a lot while watching the Season Six episode "Sons and Daughters." The story deals with (as the title suggests) a son (Worf's) and a daughter (Gul Dukat's). Both of these grown children are somewhat estranged from their parents. Neither father was prepared for fatherhood when it was thrust upon them.
Alexander, after a short stint on the Enterprise, was sent back to live with Worf's adoptive parents. Ziyal was raised in a Breen prison camp and then came aboard DS9 before being evacuated to Bajor during the Dominion/Cardassian re-occupation. Both young adults have a rocky relationship with their fathers. Both want very much to please. Both, thanks to their natural dispositions, have always fallen a little short of their fathers' expectations. No matter how much Alexander wishes, he'll never be a great warrior in his Worf's eyes. No matter how much Ziyal might try, she'll never be devious and cunning like Gul Dukat. Both children can only strive to be the best version of themselves that they can be--both laboring do better, to go farther, to be stronger/smarter/greater/somehow less disappointing.

The relationship between parents and children is bound to be complicated. Especially for those of us with parents who weren't really planning on our arrival into their world--those with parents who were young, unsettled, or otherwise unready. We grew up with our parents. We saw their naked unease, their mistakes, their lives fractured upon our entrance into it and then healed around it.

Hopefully, over time (and not in a single 45-minute span within our lives), we see each other grow and change and the sea between us lessens.

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