Impatience, Impatiens

I’ve always considered myself a patient person, not always, mind you, but most of the time. I am certainly not patient or forgiving when I’m driving and someone cuts me off. I curse and hold up a finger. When our son was really young and asked what it meant I told him it meant “wait a minute.” He believed that for years.

I’m patient on supermarket lines, I’m patient with (most) people, I listen well, I like to think I’m a good, loyal friend. Indeed, I have high standards for myself and used to think everyone was like me but Life taught me that lesson the hard way several times over. How do you know differently if the way your family acts is the only way you know?

My friends are all very different from me but now what keeps us together is not lunch dates, meeting in the city on a weekend for brunch or long telephone calls but stupid text messages or IM’s.  I confuse them all the time as my adult children roll their eyes and grimace.

I hate that, text messages to say Happy Birthday, text messages to say Hello, text messages to find out how a surgery went, text messages to show your deepest sympathy and one death announcement I had to read about on Facebook. It’s all the norm now.

Of course, my adult children, think I am old-fashioned and nuts. Beside that the iPhone to me is a strange and complicated piece of equipment, why can’t we just use the phone as the phone was really intended? To talk. It doesn’t seem popular anymore except for those of us “oldies.”

I will ask my kids to call their grandparents and they will do that responsibly but they will say “they weren’t home, we will try again later.” “Did you leave a message” I ask? A reasonable question, I think, and they look at me like the dinosaur that I am and say with a scolding dismay “Mom, our generation doesn’t LEAVE messages, we just try again later.”

It’s no surprise that I’m not good with change but I try as best I can. Knowing I’m not good with change makes me try harder than most. At this point in our lives my husband and I are waiting for change to happen, waiting for a clue to point us in the right direction on what we should do and where we should go in the future for the next chapter in our lives.

My friends say that “I will know it when it happens” and I believe that is true, but it has been a very long time and being patient has been getting harder and harder. I need to relax, look within and wait for the Spring. I think things will start to get clearer then. If nothing else, the dreadful Winter, will be over and Life will begin anew.

 

Dear Parents of College Students

The Clown Motel

The Clown Motel (Photo credit: Great Beyond)

TO MY CHILDREN: THIS IS KNOWN AS SATIRE. DON’T GIVE ME “THE FACE.”

Dear Moms and Dads of College Students,

It’s been a long summer so I need to start this letter with an apology, I feel so badly for all of you.  Believe me, I am going through the same thing with my two, you are not alone. We are all here in solidarity. I’m writing to you today, on behalf of those of us parents who have been through this for a few years already and we want to forewarn you on the things that might be coming around the corner. We had no one to tell us, and believe us, we wish we had, so here is some helpful information, a guide, as you will, for YOU to get adjusted to college life. Let me put it bluntly: This is a phase after freshmen year usually called: YOU CAN DO NOTHING RIGHT.

After that as your child gets older you will all be; ” AS STUPID AS F**K.  Usually it’s the condescending tone of voice, the eye roles, the groans of disgust and the stony faces that will give you a clue. Now? You see them huddled over their computer screens not even acknowledging your presence. “Huh, what, did you say something.” The only question I get asked (think back to grade school) is “What’s for dinner?” What happened to manners? What happened to “NO TEXTING AT THE TABLE?” What happened to “can I help?”

We know nothing, our advice (unwanted) is not listened to and who asked us anyway? Face it people WE JUST DON’T GET IT.  The kids are not “home” they are here to stay as if they were staying at a MOTEL and you, mom and dad are the full-time, 24/7 concierge. What? You didn’t get that message from the college newsletters? Oh, well, right, it’s ASSUMED. Duh.

College students know much more ABOUT EVERYTHING than we do because basically WE KNOW. NOTHING. We are the “older generation” and people like us, well, we just don’t know the same things that they which they have practically learned in training pants. “Sigh (in a condescending tone)  I’ve shown you this on the computer three times already” “I know, I say sheepishly but I forgot, it’s not my fault. I have NO short-term memory.” I beg pathetically.  Deep heaving and annoying sigh, “Oh fine, mom, I’ll show it to you ONCE more but write it down.” At this point, embarrassed and demeaned you say, “Never mind, I’ll google it.” which is what you should do in the first place or called Apple even if you are on hold for two hours. Some things WE need to learn, this is one of them.

Who are these strange grown-ups dropping in at our home? I don’t recognize them this time, I don’t even know their friends who are sleeping in our family room. We want to make our kids happy so of course we say yes to their grown-up sleepovers. My gosh, we are not living in our home anymore, we have become a bed and breakfast, lunch or dinner. More likely, we have become a free-motel. Our warm, compassionate kids have become distant and aloof and self-involved while they haven’t stopped for a second to think about us. Why? Because we don’t exist except to pay the bills and welcome their friends with a smile.

The question begs to ask “who are we?” We are just the same old Mom and Dad that haven’t really changed much compared to their quick minds and independent thoughts. We’re stuck in the mud, while they zoom off to have fun with their new friends, to study what they want and to pop back here to see their old friends when it is convenient for them. We are no longer part of the equation, well, ok, maybe at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you accept it, it gets SO much easier.

It’s almost time for them to leave, for them to go back “home” to their suites and apartments in college. They have their own cars now. We don’t have to drive them up like the princes and princesses they are. They can unpack by themselves with the help of their suite mates. They will call once a week, maybe more. And, knowing us, we will be there for them at any and every time because that is what parenting children is about, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Technology's Impact on Families: Depends Who You Ask!

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/ DIY Adapter

According to my mother (my teenagers’ grandmother) you would think that society and civilization are quickly burning up with raging orange and red flames of fire because of two second text messages. That said, it is a new generation and technology obviously has changed interaction within families and in the general public.

In my generation we spent all our free time on the phone. I remember walking back and forth from the kitchen to the living room with the long, dirty, coiled, yellow stretchy phone cord to talk to my friends from school who I had just seen hours before. This was way before call-waiting too.

Then there was e-mail and even us parents could pretty much keep up with that as well as the older generation. But now? My children text obsessively on their multi-faceted phones and we have to force them to turn them off while we are eating (which sometimes they do and sometimes they pretend to do.) On a weekend away with the entire family our mother could not believe that the first thing her four grandchildren did was check their phones and Facebook. She was disgusted and distraught and my sister and I (and husbands) were used to it. Our mother took it as a personal affront.

Things change, people change, as parents we get used to things; we have no choice but it is helpful to set limits. The older generation think we have all lost our collective parental minds. In defense of my children they can keep up a great conversation at any time, they do well in school and we have adjusted. That’s what parenting is all about, you need to change with your children and with the times and set some boundaries. Is it easy? Not always. Will it make your children unable to have a reasonable conversation over a family dinner? No. Honestly, if I could figure out how to use one of those fancy phones I would own one myself. I have a simple, made for dummies phone and if I am lucky, I can actually call someone or pick up and scream “hello?” and hear a response. I consider that, for me, a success.

Powered by Plinky

Talking Versus Texting: My Preference

Cheers to you from Starbucks - Coffee shops 20...

Image by Earl - What I Saw 2.0 via Flickr

“Just an old-time girl….”

 

I’m old-fashioned; I like to talk to people in person. GASP! I know that is such a novel concept. My teenagers do not talk on the phone, they text on their own phones with dexterity and speed that only experienced surgeons have. I need to see someone’s expression, the look in their eyes, their body language to accurately assess something. Even writing online is perplexing since you miss the nuances, the emotions, the intonation.
Give me an a cup of Starbucks coffee and a friend across the table and that is how I communicate best. I need to feel, first hand, what my instinct is telling me. I need to listen but to listen effectively, I also need to see from my heart.

Powered by Plinky