I spent years teaching my little brood of six everything they needed to know to succeed in life. Well, I tried. I’m not responsible if they choose to ignore the fountain of eternal wisdom spewing from my mouth.
But the times they are a-changin’.
The kids who grew up too quickly have now surpassed me. They range from 10 to 25 years in age and treat me like the baby of the family. They worry about me, hover over me and advise me. It’s getting to the point where I’m not sure I can live without them, or if I dare.
I mean, what if I mess up? What if I never learn to dress myself? What if I say the wrong thing?
From a child’s view, parents mature into incompetence. At the age you think you’ll be the matriarchal pillar of wisdom for the generations, you realize you’re just a few drools away from a toddler’s capabilities and impact. So, in humble submission to the older, wiser people in my life, I am submitting to their instruction.
~Ten Basic Life Skills I am Relearning~
Over the holidays, I bought my first pair of real high heels. Ya’ know the real kind with the spikey heel and not the orthopedic chunk heels? I wobbled like a hobbled horse. Between laughs, the girls tried to give me pointers. And no, they weren’t laughing with me, they were laughing AT me. There’s a big difference, or so I tell myself.
(frantically telling my son “Get the shoes!” “Make sure the shoes are in the picture!”)
Then, they settled for warnings. “Just don’t fall.”
“Don’t hurt yourself.”
Hey, like I used to laugh at them when they were learning to walk and would run into that corner of the coffee table?
I never laughed when they took off running and their big diaper butts waddled them right over on their little faces?
When they were going through puberty and their feet reached adulthood before their brains, I NEVER teased them about tripping on latitude lines, nor did I call their feet SKIS… more than once or twice. And let’s not even talk about how those SKIS smelled…
Like I laughed when someone was 16 and walked straight into a wall for no reason and got a huge egghead lump? Oh, maybe I did laugh, but thought they were old enough to handle it.
2. Dressing Myself
“Mom, those jeans need to be worn with flats.”
“You’re not going to wear that, are you?”
”Um, that needs to be worn with skinny jeans. No, I mean skin tight skinny jeans. You can’t have knee wrinkles.
Even hubby, “Nobody at work dresses like you.”
“It’s OK if all that tummy blubber hangs over your jeans. It’s called a muffin top.”
They use their cool words, then turn to me with a smug explanation.
As if I couldn’t figure out what “perfs” or “sup” means. C’mon, I know I was born a bajilion yesterdays ago, but I can still figure out things in context. It’s just when they change the meaning of words that I get a little confused.
These words now mean something good: wicked, sick, tight, fat, killer, filthy, gnarly, dope, redunk, and boss. Even though I can’t say it at the airport, if “you du bomb” that’s really good.
When my son says “brah” he isn’t talking about unmentionables he shouldn’t mention. He’s addressing another male species, usually his father, who isn’t impressed when called unmentionables.
If you’re a “noob” it’s not horrible, but not exactly good, and nobody can define it, but everybody knows what it is. It’s a noob.
Even if a word was invented and used cleverly by my generation, a patronizing discussion will still follow. “Mom, do you know what this means?”
4. Safety from sharp objects
They take all my scissors and my paring knives. Even fingernail clippers and nail files must be dangerous, I’m not allowed to have those, either. I never have a problem getting through security, my kids take all my dangerous items before the airport officials can.
5. Public Behavior
They now sneak out to shop and have coffee without me, and I assume it’s because of my behavior.
Well, I don’t know what they’re worried about, it’s not like I’m going to throw myself down and have a tantrum or climb the library shelves, like some people I know. When they take me out, I’ve never peed in anybody’s front lawn, or picked my nose and wiped it on the wall, like some people I know. I’ve never stolen suckers from the grocery store, eaten coupons or broke a bottle of cooking oil, like some people I know.
But, I might talk too loud and I might need help with social skills. See #1, #2 and #3.
“Mom, did you know you should be reading the labels to find out the sugar content of cereals?”
“Did you know iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value and you should be eating dark green leaves?”
“Whoa, Dude, didja’ know too much salt isn’t good for you?”
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na. I can’t hear you! Your lips are flapping and the wind is blowing my gray straggly hair all over, but I’m not listening! I’m gunna’ keep buying Fruit Loops and iceberg lettuce. Wait, I haven’t bought those things in years…..
Apparently, your shoes and purse no longer have to match. You can accessorize a brown purse with a *gasp* pair of black shoes. You can wear random single colors today that aren’t in the same color palette. Unmatching is the new matching.
My daughter will wear brown boots, that look like cropped cowboy boots, a black jacket, a turquoise shirt, fishnet stockings and a cream skirt. She’s adorable, but I try not to stare, because in my mind, I’m painting those boots black, like they should be.
Now I know how my poor mother felt when I dared to wear white shoes after September 1st.
8. Basic Life Skills
Since I grew up without computers, technology is a mystery. Facebook? Texting? Instant Messenger? Skype? It was all invented to keep parents out of their lives. When I began emailing to keep in touch with my kids, they switched to Facebook. When I got on Facebook, they moved to Twitter. I haven’t moved to Twitter yet, but I’m wondering how many new places there are to hide and how long it will take me to find them.
Speaking of Twitter….really? It musta’ been invented by someone who was sick of listening to their mom. “Hey, if you can’t say it in 140 characters, don’t say it at all!”
I can keep it to 140 characters.
#Call your mom and tell her you love her.
#Buy your Mom a present.
#Send your mom to Hawaii with all new clothes.
#Maybe I should get on Twitter after all. #It could come in handy.
Beka researching scarlet Fever and study her states and capitals on this old cell phone. Silly me. I didn’t think it was good for anything.
“Wow, Mom, you text slow.” Ironic that this is coming from the teenager who types 20 words a minute using two fingers and has 100 errors, compared to my nearly 100wpm with two errors using all ten fingers. Since when did typing lose its place in the world as a necessary skill? Yes, I’m fully aware they call it “keyboarding” now but you’re still not learning how to use all your fingers and “keyboard” without looking!
9. Bathroom Habits
“Mom, since we’re going shopping, why don’t you just go potty now so we don’t’ have to find a bathroom as soon as we get there?”
“Mom, you feeling OK? You were in the bathroom for a long time.”
“If you have a tummy ache, you probably have to use the bathroom.”
10. Gaining self-confidence
“Don’t worry, Mom, everybody makes stupid comments.”
“You really look good….for your age and everything.”
Kids, I really love you and appreciate your efforts in raising me. I know it’s a lot of work. But it’s only fair I warn you.
Some day soon I’ll be a teenager…….