During a recent Chicago trip my son mimicked his daughter saying, “Dad, you’re so lame!” I was somewhat taken aback upon hearing his imitation. “You think she really feels that way?” I asked.
“For sure, what do I know,” he replied continuing his mimicry.
That 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. She and friends are staying after pre-school for Lunch Bunch tomorrow and she is weighing her clothing and food options.
Wife- “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. So what, he gave four days one week to counseling the Sox. I’m a Cubs fan, what do I care about the White Sox?”
Mother- “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. There actually may be some truth to the adage, as more than a few moms I know are raptly receptive 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!).