So I have a lot of observations about Family lately. I want to understand. I have lots of thoughts on things I am observing all around me.
It’s really itching me lately how much parents/grandparents are inflating and praising It started with seeing all these Memes about “I love my son” “Repost this if you love your daughter”. “My son is the reason I get up in the morning. Repost if you agree”
Okay. Please. Of course you love your son or daughter. I’ve haven’t seen a Meme yet that says, “My son is such a pain in my ass. Glad somebody married him and got him out of my house.”
But lately, people just have a need to publicly tell people how much their kids/grandchildren.
Here are a few examples
There is nothing truly wrong with doing this. That’s not my point. My point is how I don’t remember anyone in my life ever communicating something similar.
Thinking of my mother, if I said to her, “What do you think about the phrase, ” Your happiness is their (your) joy; You future is their legacy”, she would launch into a long and punctuated rant. She has very passionate feelings that the choices children make are no reflection on their parents. Parents do the best they can, but eventually leave the nest, and parent’s lives go on into their retirement years.
Most of the people I know have parent’s– mother’s especially– that will text them once a day (or more) just to basically say, “What’s up?” “Are you having a good day? “Just thinking of you”.
Taking this further, one friend’s mother that I am thinking of specifically (and I am closer to) one time commented on a Facebook post that my friend was up late dealing with her sick child. It was around 11pm or 12am. The comment said, “I am still up. Feel free to call Mom if you want to talk” Something like that– don’t quote me.
I was like, “Wow.. ” Just call. I am here.
My mother has a few rules around our communication. My mother lives in the Southern US. I live in Los Angeles. I have lived here for 16 years. Sixteen years later I am still hearing, “Well there is a TIME DIFFERENCE”. The time difference is TWO hours. But she is adamant that I never call after 9pm Central time. She is either watching TV (that’s connected to a DVR, by they way..) or is going to bed.
Fine. I get it. My mom is now in her late 60s. She has gotten up at like 5:30am her entire adult life(why you do this in retirement, I have no idea!) and I think people get more tired as they get older. I need to respect the boundaries of her personal time. What does bother me, is out of the blue, I will get text messages that say something to the effect of:
“In the event you MIGHT call tonight.. tonight is not a good time. I have this club, or this sport, or this party to go to.. busy busy!”
I wasn’t even thinking of calling, but thanks for letting me know how full your calendar is.
But she never calls just to say, “hey, was just thinking of you”
Another story: I went to my friend’s parents home the other night for dinner. This was the first time I met these folks. Parents of four adult children, now with children of their own. I have seen plenty of Facebook photos over the years of this family. The focus now is the 4 granddaughters. It’s nice.I enjoy seeing the photos of them all together as an extended family.
They were discussing with each other that my friend’s sister was going to be driving down to spend the night with the grandparents. About a 90 minute drive North. There was discussion of only 1% milk in the house,and plates ready on the counter for pancakes in the morning.
Then there was this: More discussion of pancakes, and how the little girls like whipped cream on their pancakes. Mmm.. so do I. Whipped cream on most everything! Always a can in my fridge!
Well, they didn’t have any whipped cream. My friend’s father made a proclamation I dont think I will forget:
“Well, we’ll need to stop at the store then. My granddaughters will not be denied.”
“MY GRANDDAUGHTERS WILL NOT BE DENIED!!!
I would expect the response to be “Well, we don’t have any whipped cream this time.. but, they’ll live”
No one has EVER made that statement to me about….anything! We will do what we need to do to get them whatever will make them happy, bring them pleasure. This includes my own grandparents. All four of my grandparents are long deceased. In a lot of ways, they were a lot of the same personality. I have better memories of my mom’s parents than I do of my father’ parents. But both sets were… lazy and unengaged. Both grandmother’s never drove a car. So they depended on their children to get them around to spend time with us, or even just to get to the Market. I remember my mom having a of lot of resentment about how “dependent” they were. My sister’s and I have commented that we don’t ever recall our grandparents wever “taking us to ice cream”. I know that’s not a huge deal. Maybe it was the 80s, but I always recall kids saying to me, “Our parents took us to Baskin-Robbins”, and to us, it was like, “WHOA.. Disneyland!”
Back to my other friend with the cool Mom who says, “Call me 24 hours a day if you need me”, Her too. She comments on her grandkids photos, “She is the light of my life”. And I look at that, and think, “Wow. That is such a statement.” Because I spend a lot of time with this family, I’ve seen this woman say that to her granddaughter. So it’s not online, and its not “for show”.
How to wrap this up… ugh..
Anyway, I am not a worse person because the way I was parented was more “reserved”,and maybe even more shy? Some might say that there could be something wrong with a parent leaving an adult child a voicemail everyday (for example), “Just wanted to tell you I love you and you are the light of my life”
But I guess it would be nice to hear. My personal theory of why this is perhaps an issue for me, is I don’t see my family. Maybe twice a year. I can’t just “drive down” for the day. Sometimes I feel like I’m just “There”. People check in to see that I am still alive, but that’s it”. My mom’s voicemails usually have that tone.
“I haven’t heard from you in a while Just checking in” It always has a ‘tone’.
Now, my mom would say, LOUDLY, “You made a choice in going to Los Angeles. Nobody told you to go there. You are choosing to build a life away from your family.” This argument has softened and improved into my 30s. They realize I have a specialized career that I am thriving in. I cant’ do what I do just anywhere. My life is here, and we’ve shelved the argument. I am no longer a teen that ran away to find fame and the fast lane. WHICH NEVER HAPPENED.
What but if that message said, “I haven’t heard from you in a while. I miss you. I wonder what you’re doing. Hope work and everything is going well.”
Do you love your kids more because you publicly show it? How do you feel when you post something like that?How does it make your kids feel?