Archive for May, 2010

Stories about adult children following in their parents’ footsteps have taken on special meaning for me, now that I realize that both my daughters have, in a way, gone into our own family business, too, of journalism and writing.    So I was especially intrigued by the article in today’s New York Times about Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general of New York, and his career in politics, the family business begun by his father Mario, New York’s former governor.  “Political Test May Loom for the Cuomos’ Bond,” reads the headline.  Imagine that — competition and jealousy rearing their un-pretty heads in a father-son relationship lived out in the spotlight.

Times reporters Michael Powell and Raymond Hernandez had to cobble their story together from secondary sources, since both father and son declined to be interviewed.  (Mario had at first agreed, but when Andrew refused to talk, Mario backed out.)  But they managed to find people who would talk, mostly anonymously, about the fierce, intense, loving, competitive relationship that Andrew, aged 52, has with his 78-year-old father.  And it was the father, someone I’ve long admired for his oratory skills, who summed up the relationship perfectly.

As to their changing relationship, father and son express frustration with the endless literary allusions and amateur psychoanalysis. To the elder Cuomo, the Shakespeare this and the Freudian that is silliness. Yes, he is a strong-willed and loving father, and, yes, he has a strong-willed and loving son.

“People say, ‘Oh, they have such a complicated relationship,’ ” Mario Cuomo said. “Do you know any father who doesn’t have a complicated relationship with his son?”

He paused, and added, “Incidentally, it doesn’t get less complicated as it goes on.”

Oh my goodness, it doesn’t?  Ur-Momma had always uttered the refrain “it never ends” whenever I expressed any worry about Nutmeg or Meta as they were growing up.  But I’d always hoped that she was wrong, that the worry DOES in fact end, or at least changes significantly, when the kids become adults and are living their own exuberant, rocky lives.  And now here’s Mario — erudite, thoughtful Mario — telling me that not only does it never ends, it only gets more complicated.  Maybe Ur-Momma was smarter than I realized.

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