Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When Will I Grow Up?

I'm at that stage in my life where I've spent more of my years with my husband than I have with my mother but I still feel like I'm waiting to grow up so the next time my mom says to me "You look tired" I won't immediately launch into a whole litany of excuses like "It's just my new make-up" or "Your glasses are dirty".
It's not easy to get out of the mother/daughter routine. "You look tired" can come across as an older variation of "You're skirt's too short". Comments like that fall under the category of what psychologists call the parent-child relationship. According to psychologists by this time in our life we should be having an adult-adult relationship with our parents. I think it is time we as a society realized that psychologists don't know what they are talking about.
Parent-child is an eternal relationship. Just 'cause I live in a bigger house than my mother does and just because my kids are out of the house, doesn't mean I'm not my mom's little girl anymore.
The only thing that changes in the relationship is recognizing the words "You're skirt's too short" really mean "I love you and I don't want to see you cheapen yourself by showing off your legs so that boys driving by hang out of cars thump the side of it and whistle at you and think you're easy." This is quite a mouthful for mothers to whip out as their child heads out the door in a hurry to get to school.
Parents have to speak quickly to kids. Kids don't have time to listen to all the things parents want to tell them. So parents spill out such immortal words of caring and wisdom like "Eat your lunch", "Be home on time" and "Take care of yourself". Words that are code for a whole lot more.
I know all this. I've said it myself to my kids. But with my mom, I'm still learning to look past the words "You look tired" and hear "Make sure you get enough rest so that you can take care of your family and yourself and not snap at them because you're tired....I love you."
The trouble is, things get confusing for my mother - when to give advice and when to simply listen. I still phone her and complain, hoping to get some sympathy. As in "You know mom, all my fellow writers were at the National Romance Writers Convention and I had to stay home and work." and she's supposed to say, "Oh, honey. That's too bad." but I know the inevitable will come . . . "Are you sure you're not too busy? You sound tired."
And that's okay too. I'll say the same things to my daughter, when I phone her this afternoon.
After my nap, of course.

1 comment:

Diane Perkins said...

Awww, Carolyne, what a sweet post!