Thursday, June 02, 2005


IM With Mom

I've reached that age where everything my parents told me actually makes sense. Still, I'm always a little leery when my parents try to give me advice. The advice my parents give me sometimes comes across as "orders" which I must obey or disobey. There is still a little kid in me that needs to resist that advice. As somebody said, "Of course your parents know how to push your buttons - they are the ones who installed the buttons."

It's fun when I chat with my Mom via IM at 2:00 AM. It's easier to see her as "Marsha," not as "Mom." She's just a person, facing the same problems that I do. Her bosses make unreasonable demands, her co-workers look to her for leadership, and she's just doing the best she can. We can trade our complaints as equals.

It's weird to think that when my parents were my age, they had three kids in high school, with one (me) about to enter college. I can barely handle the responsibilities of renting an apartment and owning a car; I can't imagine the responsibilities of taking care of three kids and owning a house. Then again, I'm almost at the age that my grandmothers were when they became grandmothers. I guess things happened more quickly back in the old days.

I barely feel like I'm grown-up, but I'm entering the age of that "older generation." Younger people at work look to me to be a mentor or leader. I try to convince them that I'm not useful in those capacities, but they ignore my objections. "Marsha" has the same problems I do: she has a lot of experience, and her younger co-workers look to her to give them advice. She's not totally comfortable giving that advice, but the recipients seem happy to receive it.

Maybe it's genetic. My mom and I are both considered to be "good listeners," which means we are too polite to tell people to shut up and leave us alone. We don't tell people how trivial their problems are; we don't note how stupid their reactions to their problems are; we just say "Yes, I understand' repeatedly and then agree when the speaker says "I guess what I really should do is ...."

Mom's pretty cool. So is Dad, but he doesn't go online as often. I guess I should talk to them face-to-face more often, but 2:00 AM seems to be the perfect time for serious interaction, and we're all too old to stay up that late.

I have heard that it's much easier for parents to accept their children as adults and individuals than it is for children to accept their parents as adults and individuals. Some roles are hard to see around. It's nice to see that you see her as a person as well as a mother. I should try to IM my mother more -- perhaps the grudges and emotional elements wouldn't be as prevalent. :)

Do call your father! Even at 2 AM, there's nothing wrong with a brief hello. I wish I could call my dad and just say hello.
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