I just want to be a cool adult to my kids because this mothering thing is killing me. Though I donít mind that love for them pours spontaneously from deep in my soul every morning to noon and the whole day through, Iím tired of waiting for my Millennials to see this all too familiar face as someone worth knowing, not just a middle-aged, out of touch worrywart.
Itís as if they already know what Iím selling and have figured out how to skip the commercial. My 21-year-old son, a little critter no more, sees me as a patronizing ignoramus most of the time. How dare I expect a return phone call, let alone a response to my email? Iím going to be there on the other end until the end, bothering him anyway, he figures, so why let me into his life whenever I want? And donít even think about asking him his friendsí names or what his weekend plans are anymore, because, in his mind, how could I relate? To him, Iím good for a pair of shoes, 20 bucks in the mail and underwear.
My 19-year-old daughter might sometimes view me as an honest to goodness person with something to contribute, especially if what Iím wearing is passably modern in her opinion. I get lucky every now and then when I have boots she wants to borrow or a bag to steal; sheíll chummy up and weíre like-minded giggling girls for a blissful moment or two. But Iíll never be hip enough to pick out items for her to wear. ďItís office wear,Ē she says with her nose curled in the air. Well Iíve had it with the ĎI wantsí and Ďwhy canít I havesí instead of Ďletís go doí this or that together, much less Ďwhat do you think aboutí something or another.
Cool adults are role models, the people emerging adults look to for both clues and tricks to finding their own niche. They have the traditional stages of life all figured out and quip short answers in pop lingo. Mostly they donít ask stupid questions. Me, well Iím out here in motherland still lying in hope of some defiant behavior, like: ďI canít wait to see the mold growing under that wet towel you left on the floorĒ or ďI love to crunch the disposable contacts you throw on the rug at night.Ē
Cool adults have impressive pasts, and so do I. I danced to the Jackson Five at recess in grade school and watched Saturday Night Live during late night parties in high school. I rocked out the 70s with The Who and Aerosmith and wore a Tina Turner haircut in the 80s. I even met U2 after a show in Gorey, Ireland where Bono first jumped on the speakers, and saw Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead and once came within millimeters of touching Keith Richardsí guitar.
As if thatís not enough, Iím up on my sonís favorite bands, like Nujabes and MBV. I know what V for Vendetta is and Manga and Magic the Gathering. As for my daughterís interests, I know Tory Burch and Sutton Foster and how to straighten my hair. I can order a tall, skinny latte and pick out that hot college boy with the best of them. In fact, there are many things I could tell my daughter about dating if she would only stop looking at her cell long enough to listen.
I know my way around a couple of smart screens. I text, Tweet on occasion and have 47 friends on Facebook. My nephews recently taught me to play Temple Run and Minecraft and while I may not have 51,000 songs on my iTunes account or be in the Cloud yet, Iím headed in that direction. Truth is, Iím far from a loser; Hell Iím practically a nerd, and I know thatís now good!
At some point you just have to throw in the towel. For goodness sakes, there are plenty of other cool people out there Ė many much, much wiser than me. Instead of repeating what little Iíve learned Ė just the important stuff, you know, like: be healthy; preserve your passion; love irrevocably, make more right choices than wrong; and forgive your regrets Ė Iím fussing no longer.
Pack your own boots and underwear if you want to keep on truckiní with me.