Finally, B'Elanna makes a confession to Tom: her fear is rooted in the idea that her father abandoned her and her mother because he couldn't handle B'Elanna's Klingon side.
So, here's my confession: it's taken me several days to write about this episode. Since I first saw it (only about seven or eight years ago) this one affected me deeply. As of today, the 17th of November, this is the third time I've attempted this post.
When I was seven, my parents divorced. It wasn't as if they'd had a rosy marriage but it still came as something of a shock when it was announced one morning that I'd be living several hundred miles away from my dad and going to a new school and everything I'd grown up with would be quite different.
At that time every TV show had a very special episode about divorce and lots and lots of movies featured parents who'd split up. A lot of those TV kids were consumed by feelings of misplaced guilt--thinking that their parents had split up because they (in spite of their obvious adorableness and catch phrases) had done something wrong. These stories were meant to show kids like me that our parents' problems hadn't stemmed from us. But I never felt any of that stuff as a kid. I assumed my parents were weirdos and, like everyone else's parents in the 80's, just didn't get along. My seven year old self said, "It's not a big deal. My mom will probably end up hiring a male nanny and every day of my life will be an episode of Who's The Boss?"
|(Note: This did not happen. Even a little bit.)|
Later, as I became more of a person, I couldn't deny the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways that each of my parents resented their missed opportunities, their canceled, glittering futures, their twenties-sans-child. What had they meant to do that they couldn't? What were they doing instead? Who were they living with? Was their child a blessing or a curse? Both? Neither?
Did they split up because of me? I don't think so. But would they ever have been together for any kind of long-term relationship if I hadn't come along? I doubt it. And have they had these same thoughts? Of course they have. And I don't blame them for it.
I, without any say in the matter, forever altered the course of my parents' lives. I think we've all made the best of it. They loved me, and still love me, and I love them. I have a good relationship with both of them. I understand them, I think, more than I ever have. I am extraordinarily like my parents. I discover ways in which I'm like them more and more often as I get further into adulthood. Their choices as parents have affected and shaped me in innumerable ways.
So, like B'Elanna, I have had an unalterable effect on my parents' life. Likewise (and my inability to get through Lineage without very strong feelings is proof of this) even now that I'm an adult, they continue to have a profound impact on mine.