Halloween normally conjures up thoughts of ghouls, goblins, the afterlife, and phobias. The holiday itself is pretty simple: the dressing up, the trick-or-treating, the scaring people, etc. But the underlying metaphors of the deceased seeking vengeance or just acknowledgement, and bringing to light the things in life we most fear, are quite complex albeit common thoughts. However, watching a movie marathon the other night (of course, me and movies, right?), which included The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values, had me linking this Spooktacular celebration to an area of my life I never thought it would intersect: parenting.
Yes, this Halloween season I’ve been thinking about parenting. More specifically how I believe that Gomez and Morticia Addams might just possibly be the ultimate parents. Okay, I know, but hear me out, hear me out. Seriously, from the movies and the early t.v. show (which was amazing by the way), there is a good argument here.
They never shout at their kids. They never force them to be who they’re not. They’re always supportive, constantly giving Wednesday and Pugsley encouragement, and regularly back them up on their ideas no matter how crazy they may seem. If anyone speaks out against either child, these devoted parents immediately jump to their defense while also checking to make sure the kids didn’t, in fact, do some horrible good deed. They put up with the explosions from well-timed dynamite, the science experiments that set the house ablaze, and foster a love for animals by allowing the odd pet or two such as an alligator, octopus, a lively bear (rug), and a poisonous spider, just to name a few. In fact Gomez and Morticia actively encourage Wednesday and Pugsley’s individual hobbies and
eccentric creative interests. They deal calmly with the sibling rivalry that often involves medieval weaponry and amazingly complex booby traps. And like all parents, they wonder if they’re “doing it right.”
In case you don’t remember, in The Addams Family Values, Gomez and Morticia send their kids to a summer camp because they are persuaded by external forces that it’s best for the kids. Of course, it’s a terrible idea and they never would have sent them to a place that didn’t appreciate their umm…individuality… if they hadn’t had a seed of doubt about their parenting skills planted in their heads by the nefarious villain of the flick. So here they are worried, like all conscientious parents would be, just trying to do the right thing by their kids to make sure they grow up properly.
Also, in that movie they showed their vast reservoir for acceptance in the face of diversity. Or at least Morticia did. When their baby is “ill” and turns blonde (gasp!) and “normal” (in the All-American, Stepford, take-you-home-to-meet-the-parents sort of way), Morticia reads him The Cat in the Hat. Mind you, she doesn’t want to. She’s dreadfully sad that all of the characters live at the end. It’s rather obvious that she’d be more comfortable reciting Dante’s Inferno, something from The Brothers Grimm, or perhaps a few chapters from Faust, but instead of trying to force her own personal affinities onto this changeling in her arms, she instead recognizes what he needs and sucks it up with a little Dr. Seuss.
Empathy, love, acceptance, and support. These are the pillars of the Addams parents. I mean, honestly, can you think of a better pair of parental role models?