This was literally the first day the 2 daughters met. One was 15 years old and the other 1/2 day old.
After lavishing love, affection and education at both children while they were growing up I can tell that they are looking forward to being the ones to “parent” me in my old age.
It is with loving care and concern that one criticizes my diet and the other wants to know what health issues I may have. Just not looking forward to them bringing me the latest homeopathic remedy to try.
No really, why did I teach my kids to be open and express their thoughts and feelings without embarrassment? I am regretting how well I did teach them and wished I would have thought that through a bit more.
Coming from a family with parents who had only 3 feelings, I surmised that this type of self-awareness of ones feelings and emotions could only be good for children. I taught my children to tell me how they feel, tell the doctors, the teachers and tell their friends how they feel and this will help them along in life.
I was doing just OK with this concept with the teenager when my youngest was born with ears that stuck out about 40%.
The psychological distress caused by prominent ears can be considerable. The main clinical significance of prominent ears is the aesthetic problems, which can lead to a reduced quality of life, reduced self-esteem, social avoidance behavior and poor performance in school. Teasing at school causes both short-term unhappiness and a potential long-term impact on perception of self-image and self-worth. Children and adults alike with ears that stick out may experience a damaged psyche secondary to outside ridicule and self-criticism.
So, knowing the day would come when she would want to have her ears fixed, I taught my little girl with ears that stuck out that she had beautiful elf ears. She became so confident in the fact that she had special elf ears that even the boys who teased her in elementary school could not rattle her. “I don’t have Dumbo ears, I have elf ears!” she would say and then leaving no opportunity for discussion dismiss anything else they tried to say to her. I was very proud of her confidence.
Now fast forward ten years. The oldest is in her 30’s and youngest in her 20’s. So now when I ask my daughters, either of them, how this event or that weekend was I may often wish I hadn’t asked in the first place. I have to listen carefully and consider the response. There may be parts of the response where I have to cover my ears and say “Stop! Stop! No don’t tell me” or “No don’t send me a picture, NOOO!!!!!”
You are probably wondering how I could possibly have any regrets about the success of teaching my children to express their feelings? TMI as they say. Some things just can’t be unsaid.
 Prominent Ears. Information about protruding ears | Patient. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://patient.info/doctor/prominent-ears#ref-1
Christmas is coming soon and I know my children will be thinking of gift giving for me. I now know why my grandmother never wanted me to spend my money on gifts for her at Christmas time. Like my grandmother, I am actively trying to reduce my footprint in my own home. Too much stuff in the house clutters and who wants to dust knick-knacks anyway? Candles, bowls, vases and even jewelry is too much for me. While it IS the thought that counts, it just isn’t the thoughts that I appreciate most about my adult daughters.
I would rather spend an afternoon out with them or go to a movie together. The three of us have a similar sense of humor and that makes everything funny. My daughters have a well-developed dry sense of humor and they are quick-witted. I may not want to eat the same foods as they do or stay out as late as they do but a movie or two will work for me. I have to get some movie passes and hope they will let me pick the movie too.
I am talking about myself now. It was a crazy warm summer night in 1978 that my large group of friends invited a tattoo artist to our party. Without any planning, I got a tattoo of a couple of roses on my hip. Yes, I surprised myself if you want to know the truth. Besides the couple of women at the party that did get tattoos, I didn’t know of any other women with tattoos. This was a point in time when people thought women who had tattoos had just been released from prisons. A couple of kids at the beach thought I had wasps tattooed on my hip. I spent the next 15 years or so keeping it covered up. Little did I know that the rest of the world was going to catch up with and pass me on the tattoo band wagon.
That wasn’t the only unusual thing I did in the 70’s. There was another event in 1978 when I was living in northern California with my boyfriend. I was 19 years old at the time. A young woman had walked by my house a couple of times one week on her way to visit someone down the street. I had seen her around before and chatted with her if I happened to be outside when she came by. Her name was Debbie. One week I noticed she was pregnant and congratulated her, then she told me she was not pregnant. Opps! It was an embarrassing moment for me as well as a good lesson about keeping my mouth closed. A week or so later she came to my house and confessed that she WAS pregnant. She already had some other responsibilities and was going to give the baby up for adoption. That event happened the same year as the tattoo thing so you can see how it made perfect sense to me that I offer to adopt the baby! 19 years old and adopting a baby? Sounded very logical at the time. I had never been pregnant and didn’t think I would be able to get pregnant after an illness in my early teens.
Long story shortened here, I picked up the newborn at the hospital to the shock of the administrators and nurses and the confusion of the Social Services department. My boyfriend and I didn’t work out but I went to the courthouse and got a legal single parent adoption. Here is a link with some history regarding Single Parent adoptions. If you read it you can tell there wasn’t very much history regarding this subject at the time.
Everyone knows my oldest daughter is adopted so this isn’t news to anyone. It is a crazy story of how this came to happen and since she is grown and in mid-30’s now I don’t mind sharing the series of events. This baby was loved by the village of my friends and family and has since grown to be a productive member of society. That isn’t to say there weren’t some rocky roads along the way as parents all experience.
I eventually did get pregnant when she was 15 years old. She had grown up wishing for siblings and I did feel guilty about not being able to provide her with any until she told me the real reason she needed siblings. She wanted to start a band, really that was it! She eventually ended up with one sister and 16 cousins and never did get a band going out of it.
These events in 1978 remind me how impulsive my thought process was at that time. Now that my children are out of the nest I try not to be surprised by what they do or say but I am sure I could be.
Oldest daughter, Wendy in back.
Baby Wendy with me 1979
Once my kids were grown I thought I would not have to listen to Lion King played all day every day for 2 years until I became a grandmother. I would then be able to just send my grand-kids home with their parents once our visit was over. Once my children moved out of the house I didn’t think I would have to be subjected to crazy rap music or the Kardashians either! I have since learned that there will most likely be an endless supply of crazy shows with little to no social value on into the future.
If you have ever watched “The only way is Essex” reality show you might be like me and not be able to understand what the heck they are all talking about because their accents are so strong and they have a lot of weird words. They may not even be real words. (Essex is a county that has a border right up next to London and that is all I know about it.) Once the group of over indulged children start talking, they talk faster and faster and faster and if you throw in a bunch of made up words it is impossible to understand without subtitles.
Nouveau Cockney is a foreign dialect. Most of the Cockney vowels are elongated into diphthongs and triphthongs, the resulting rhythm tends to be choppy according to Foreign Dialects: A Manual for Actors, Directors, and Writers By Lewis Herman, Marquerite Shalett Herman.
Here’s a few translations from the Essex dictionary:
‘reem’ – a term of endearment to mean ‘cool’
‘glamping’ – glamorous camping
‘shaaaaap’ – please be quiet
‘well jell’ – I am most jealous
‘awmygawd’ – heavens above!
‘awight babe?’ – hello darling
‘politicious’ – politicians
‘arrrra’ – hello
‘naaaloooor’ – nightclub
“alma chizzit” – how much is it
“assband” – housebound
“dan in the maff” – down in the mouth
Sadly, all the choppy talk does is make me slightly seasick so I have to drink Ginger Ale and go lie down. I want to be better prepared for whatever shows or music I will want to ignore in the future so I am going to order a pair of hunting headsets to provide protection for my ears. My advise to you? Be prepared.
One of my best friends, Jill, moved into her sister Sisi’s house so they could both take care of their 85 year old mother this year. Their mother had lived in Puerto Rico for the last 25 years and it was time she moved back to the states to be cared for by her daughters. On my most recent visit I noticed that their living situation is reminding me of the situations I have described in previous blogs with regard to my daughters possibly taking care of me…..let me explain.
Jill had invited me to come for a visit since her sister, Sisi, was away on vacation. Jill and I had planned to add shelving to the laundry room because Sisi has a mess of a laundry room! Can’t hardly even get to the washer or dryer. The laundry room had become a catch all for everything that needed to go in the garage. The rest of the house is very tidy though and I already know Sisi is particular with her things. We empty the room and add the shelves anyway. Who wouldn’t appreciate new shelves and a clean room when you get home from vacation?
I noticed her elderly mother, Fay, who had been in her room and was now looking into the laundry room where we were working says, “Hey, when Sisi comes home I am not going to say anything! Nothing!” Fay comes out again after a while and says, “Hey, when Sisi comes home I am not gonna say anything! I am not gonna say you were here fixing shelves! I am gonna say we were just visiting and talking all day.” OK then, might Sisi decide to have a fit about the new shelves? Fay comes out a bit later and asks, “Hey, when Sisi comes home what are you going to say to her? Surprise!” Jill says yes, she will say ‘surprise’. Fay comes out one last time apparently having really thought this through now and says, “Hey, when Sisi comes home, you are going to be at work. Only I will be here at home. What I am going to say, “surpriseieieiee?”
At that moment I was able to see myself in her situation with 2 grown daughters. There is the second when you say to yourself, “hold on, wait a minute, maybe this isn’t such a good idea”. I was reminded of the time I remodeled the master bathroom in my own house. I only had the new shower doors to install and the room would have been finished. Right then I realized that now there will be another room in the house for me to clean?? – sooo I just shut the door and use the bathroom in the hall instead. Never hung the shower door.
This was Fay’s “hold on wait a minute” moment. I was now guilty of participating in the very scenario I have envisioned where I am made to go along with my well-meaning children’s plans. Before I left I gave her my phone number and let her know I would come pick her up should she ever need a break. (Also known as a ride to the casino!)
I don’t even know why I am surprised as to what “new” concepts my daughters have explored since the last time they stopped by. For example one month they may be vegetarians and the next they aren’t. (This is also true for their dogs. Poor doggies!) Often my youngest daughter will come over and start reading ingredient lists on the foods in my cabinet or refrigerator. Just a little fun for her I presumed. She always has an opinion about the food I eat. I like some Cool Whip on my deserts once in a while but I have learned to hide the container in the deep shadow to the back of the refrigerator. Cool Whip is apparently bad in her eyes.
A few days ago I saw a group of 20 somethings at Whole Foods loading up with plastic bags full of slightly damaged and some semi-rotten vegetables I assumed they rescued from their garbage bins. I decided to be proactive and research something about the subject of dumpster diving because if I am seeing this in my home town then I need to be more prepared in case my adult children decide I need to give it a try.
If you don’t know what this word Freeganism is yet, it is time to read up. The word “freegan” is a coinage derived from “free” and “vegan“, often combined with the words “dumpster diving” or “dumpstering. I read the Your Guide To Dining From The Dump article by National Public Radio and I now have a good understanding of dumpstering. While I will buy day old bagels and food marked down at the grocery store I really don’t ever want to even try to get in a dumpster let alone pick food out of it to take home.
My advice if you feel the same way as I do? Get your list of polite excuses ready, in case you hear any buzz words regarding dinner parties that serve food prepared from “dumpstering”, so you can pass on the invite. Personally I am hoping my children don’t get lured into this world of Freeganism but just in case I have my list of polite excuses ready to go.
As a Baby Boomer with 2 adult children, both daughters, one is from Gen X and the other is a Millennial. It has occurred to me that my daughters may at some point have to help care for me as I age if I am not able to care for myself. That thought wasn’t too bothersome until this last year. I have that same thought when I see my daughters eat or drink some wild concoctions of “juices” that I just don’t really want to drink, and then……(wait for it) -they insist I TASTE the mix!
I just don’t want to drink spinach! Why can’t I just cook it and then eat it? Why must I drink it? I will eat the whole bag of spinach and then I will eat the yogurt ingredient later when I am hungry again so please don’t throw them both in a blender. Likewise I am sure burnt toast with bee pollen and soaked smashed orange peel is something I do not even want to eat.
Us parents with Gen X’rs, Millennials or post Millennial aged children will come across some of the same issues and thoughts as I have. Like the time my daughter almost choked me when she was trying to put makeup on me, holding me down with a slight choke hold when I protested. Or when my Millennial insisted we bond for the afternoon and go get bikini waxes! How in the world can these be the children I raised you ask? No answer. My biggest fear right now is that I will be in a wheelchair and one of my “Well-Meaning” children will have put way too much makeup on me, made me drink some awful green stuff and be wheeling me in to finally get that bikini wax she thinks I should “treat” myself to.
We Baby Boomers need a secret code word, one that we can YELL out if we need to be rescued from these situations. I will get to work on that and find us a special word. Someone needs to do this, so I will.
To be continued….