Saturday, December 08, 2007

Parenting is a Funny Thing

Now doesn't that just beat all in the "amazing insight" department? Insert eyeroll here.

But here's the thing. A few years ago, I realized that my grown-ish children were starting to take care of me. It's a very odd feeling. It started like this.

Back then (a few years ago) Nicholas didn't have a car of his own, so we were sharing mine. Sometimes we had to do complicated things so that we could both get to our obligations. One evening, the deal was something like "I'll drive to my thing. You'll take the car from that parking lot and go to your thing. I'll walk to my second thing and you'll leave the car in the parking lot of that event and walk home." My events were all happening on and around the campus where Nicholas lived, and I was getting confused as to who was going to be where when and where I would find the car. So I just suggested that he drive to his apartment when he was finished. I'd walk up there and retrieve my car.

He said no. He didn't want me walking alone at night in that neighborhood. The words went in, but they didn't compute. I'm the mom. You're the baby. (over 6' tall, but a baby nonetheless). If there's a risk to be taken, I take it. End of story. But somehow, we did it his way. And really, it was a thoughtful, sweet gesture. (But I still insist... if the neighborhood is unsafe for me -which is debatable- then it's unsafe for him.)

Now, to Victoria. Victoria is my extrovert child. She knows everyone. When she was about three, she introduced me to the mailman with his name. She knew the names of the kids and moms in the playgroup way before I did. I remember wondering how a three year old could have a social life I didn't know about. I still haven't figured that out.

So she and I were talking about my upcoming launch party; she asked who was coming. I started to name names.... lots and lots of names. She knows many of the people coming, of course. But, there will be plenty of people she's never met. Knitters, on-line buddies, new friends. Her comment was "How can my mom have a social life I don't know anything about?" Hello???? (Never mind that there's plenty of parental evidence -and not from me- that it's entirely possible to have secret relationships. But I digress.) Can it be that my child is supervising my friendships?

Well, of course she's not. Nor is Nicholas really concerned that I can't walk three blocks to his apartment. The thing they've absorbed and learned in their bones is that you take care of the people you love. We don't always know how to do that well or effectively, but the impulse is sound. More than sound. It's a joyous, life-giving thing. Bless their big old hearts.

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