I did my “primary parenting” decades ago, amidst all the angst of a separation that turned out to be the best idea ever, the frantic scrambling to grow up when not really sure what that meant or looked like, a move to start over (read “economical isolation”) in a town where no one knew me when and where I could manage the big three: rent, food, and car, and being lost in a range of addictions like serial smoking (three packs), pack rat housekeeping , and compulsive carb packing. Yes, I had removed my precious progeny from the toxicity of a quarrelsome, venomous relationship, but she was still left with ME. Dr. Spock, thumbed, dog eared and marked proved a valuable resource, but just as every Gemini horoscope had been wrong about my persona, so to did my darling girl escape the fine-tuned examples in that how-to book of choice. So, I muddled and practiced logic, instinct, and feeling-driven parenting with the slavish attachment of one who started late with no great role models. The gift my child gave me during those “just us two” years was to present concrete circumstances, mini-case histories, that I could rise to meet, occasionally with sublime moments of wisdom paired with love, though more often with a blue-light discount version. Yet, as I said to that same girl last week, now a woman and a mother herself, my daughter knew she mattered to me, every single day of her life. So, in spite of specific training or knowledge to be the perfect or even a great parent, my daughter turned into an amazing woman of grace, strength, compassion, and humor — all of which she has brought to her own parenting efforts.