Jim and I flew to Chicago last fall. Considering COVID, the thermometer reading on our trepidation scale concerning airline travel was high. But we double masked, shielded, and wore latex gloves. And we did not get COVID I’m happy to report.
One afternoon during our visit I was taken aback by an exchange between my son and granddaughter. He was trying to make her laugh with one of his dad jokes. He then imitated Maya saying, “Dad, you’re so lame.” “You think she really feels that way?” I asked. “For sure, what do I know,” he replied continuing his mimicry.
This anecdote made me think about our children in generational terms. The following hypothetical scenario might be perceived quite differently by members of three generations:
David excitedly announces to his family: “I just got invited to throw the first pitch out for a White Sox game because of my therapy work with some of their players.”
Daughter’s reaction– “Huh? ” she responds in a distracted tone barely glancing up to make eye contact. When she finally does, the glazed-over look in her eyes clearly betrays her disinterest in this achievement. She has bigger fish to fry. Her class Zoom party is the following day. She is busy weighing her clothing options and what to share for Show and Tell.
Wife’s reaction– “That’s nice. What’s the date?” she asks reaching for her color-coded calendar dreading trying to fit in yet another appointment. Her day planner resembles a work of art resplendent with colorful neon notes consuming entire day blocks. “Nope, I’ve got clients that day and a Parent-Teacher conference that night. You know you should really be there too. Our family and our income are more important than a ceremonial gig for work you have already done and been paid for.” Muttering under her breath, “He can be so self involved sometimes.
Mother’s reaction– “What?!!! Seriously?!!!” she exclaims during a FaceTime exchange. “That is totally cool. “Can I come?” she pleads already clicking on her Southwest App to book a flight. “Ann and John have the baseball package on Spectrum. I’ll make sure they watch the Sox-Orioles game that day. “Susan loves baseball, maybe I’ll have her come with me. I want to get plenty of pics to post on Facebook and Instagram. I’m so proud of you, David.”
When my son was born, a friend told me moms tend to think their sons’ shit doesn’t stink. This line became family lore when David was younger. “Now don’t go thinking your poop doesn’t stink, because it does,” I would counsel. “No, mom, I promise it doesn’t,” he would protest. “And besides, my body odor smells like roses.” There actually may be some truth to the adage, (not the “my body order smells like Roses” statement) as more than a few moms I know are raptly attentive to stories and accomplishments shared by their children (sons and daughters). It makes me think we will always have a part to play in the lives of our children, even if it is just as lead cheerleader (no wonder in-laws resent us!)