My babies are no longer babies. Yet my brain is hardwired to view them as toddlers.
Doesn’t matter that one will be turning thirty in a few weeks – I constantly morph into automatic Mommie Dearest mode (complete with wire hangers and cocktails) even though I should know better.
For example, last week I was in Montreal for a mother-daughter trip and a quick visit with my sister when my inner Joan Crawford decided to come out in full force.
Let me preface this story by saying this: my sister and I are opposites in many ways. I like blonds, she prefers dark ‘n swarthy. I am an introvert, she’s the gorgeous life of the party. I have a brilliant inner compass (I swear I was a sailor in a past life) but her, not so much.
Which is why, she had us walking in circles for 45 minutes to find her car. Mind you, the car was a two minute walk from the subway and I kept telling her that we were going in the wrong direction. But she insisted (the one thing we do share: stubbornness). So I followed her lead because I assumed she knew the city. WRONGO. (Did I also mention that it was hot and I despise sweating even more than I loathe getting lost?)
We were almost to the car when it happened: my poor, exhausted daughter made the fatal flaw of mentioning that her feet hurt.
And what did I do? Go into full on rage-bitch mommy mode. If you’re a mom, you know what I’m talking about: that terse, tight lipped, angry sputtering when you are frustrated that your toddler is whining in the grocery store for that ugly purple ball that they don’t need. Yeah, that one.
Except my daughter wasn’t really whining.
And she’s not a toddler.
She’s a grown woman.
Naturally, she got mad at me for acting like a total bitch. It wasn’t until we were in that car that I had the flash realization that my knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) “mommy response to whining” got in the way of me treating her like an adult. My bad. I apologized and we moved on. (Memo to self: when you have grandchildren, be nicer. Then again, with the way my hearing is going, I probably won’t be able to hear whining and will assume they are singing me a grandma tribute. Problem solved!)
That’s the tricky thing about grown children: remembering that they are individuals who are entitled to their opinions, lifestyles, and yes, even complaints when their feet hurt. Now that my children are no longer children, I see that I need to evolve the way I communicate or there is a mighty strong likelihood that they are going to put my sorry ass in the rear view mirror as they speed off towards sweet non-mommy freedom.
It’s a whole new language I’m learning to speak with my kids.
That means a whole lot more apologizing on my end.
Not rushing to mommy judgments and windy advice giving.
Minding my own damn business and letting them make their own lives (which includes questionable hipster clothing choices and non-mom-approved romantic partners).
Holding my tongue. A lot.
Speaking to them with respect instead of that “authority” I-know-it-all mom voice (ugh, when did I turn into MY mother?!).
And compromise. Lots of compromise.
There’s also another new, secret fear that lurks beneath all this new way of interacting: what kind of new communication issues might I expect as I start to creep towards old age?
Will they snap at me for being an absent minded old woman?
Will they dismiss my ideas and opinions as “old skool?”
Will they fawn over me like I’m a doddering and helpless geezer?
Will they call me a geezer?
Will the way I talked to my parents come back to bite me in the ass in some sort of karmic twist or will my children be more patient and kinder than I was?
When the adults take care of the adults, then what? Is Grey Gardens in my future? (Or Norman Bates if I should end up on my son’s doorstep?!)
I’m rethinking all of this (and considering buying my sister a GPS system that she can strap to her body).
Times they are a changing. Going from a mommy-kid relationship to a “hey, we’re two adults” relationship feels like walking out of a Disney film into some foreign documentary where you have to pay close attention to the subtitles but once you get the gist, you feel a whole lot smarter.
So here’s to communication evolution and mutual respect. And prayers that my children will have saintlike forgiveness during this transition. (Or a bottle of wine handy at all times to shut me up when my mouth and temper decide to do a rain dance on their parade.)
Note to self: that girl behind you is a grown woman, yo. Put away the Pampers and relax!
What happens when you boil cola? THIS. Good thing I don’t drink soda anymore!
This frightening story about a new hysterectomy technique may just scare me off gynos forever.
Boo to litter but yay to Hindu Gods washing up on beaches!
In Wisconsin news: a judge struck down the gay marriage ban! Yay! But don’t rejoice just yet – they are working overtime to take away women’s rights. UGH.
8 Things Bill Murray Can Teach you About Living an Amazing Life. Cause Bill seems to always be having a good time, no matter what.
Check out the colorful life of New York Astrologist Angel Eyedealism. And oh, those outfits! I want to get a reading from her!
Want to learn how to craft a great Tarot journal? Autostraddle has a fantastic post that will show you how to do just that.
Peter Dinklage really rocked a mullet back in the day.
Attention to my children: 19 Hipster Book Titles That Are Too Mainstream To Exist. OMG hilarious!
This is a MUST read post from the always brilliant and insightful Esmé Weijun Wang: What do you say when someone tells you about their mental health diagnosis? Be sure to also check out her newest offering: Light Gets In.
I’m obsessed with Andy Warhol. Which is why I probably need this Andy Warhol Desk Box!
What I’m Grateful For:
Florentine cookies from my brother in law
Snuggling with cats
Soundtrack for 6/7/14: Wraith Pinned to the Mist by Of Montreal – an ode to never growing old
Have a fab week, yo!
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2014
images from stock photography and my own personal collection