Saturday, November 23, 2019

They'll be here soon—are you ready?

     The boys are coming home Wednesday!
     I can hardly wait.
     Although my enthusiasm is tempered with a certain ... sense of ... ah ... caution.  A pause, to remind myself. It's been a few months. Adjustments are probably prudent. Calibrations, in the whirligig of words that is me.
     They are full grown adults now, used to living on their own. In silent apartments full of text books. I have to let them settle in, adjust to being under their parents' roof once again. I should tread gingerly, and not try to  mess things up, the way I often do, by, you know, saying stuff to them.
     What kind of stuff? Hard to predict, before the fact. Prior to the offensive words actually being articulated. Then the problem is all too clear. Sometimes the culprit is the most innocuous expression of goodwill, the most ordinary cliched greeting or farewell. 

    I was looking over unpublished bits and pieces tucked away on the blog, and came across this exchange, taken from life this past summer as my youngest was going out the door one morning. I believe it stands on its own without need for further explanation:
     "Go get 'em!" I said, in what I imagined was a tone of  carefree bonhomie.
     "Go get who?" he replied, clearly annoyed.
     "Umm, whoever needs to be gotten," I said, struggling.
     "I'm an intern," he said, incredulous, almost angry. "There's nobody needs to be gotten."
     "Alright then," I said, forcing a smile. "Have a good time doing whatever it is you're going to do."
     And he was gone.


  1. Because I have grandchildren that are at the age of your boys, I feel compelled to offer my condolences and words of hope.
    My kids are all in their 40's now, and while I am not the dunderheaded relic I once was, I am still a patronized cliche worthy of biting replies to my attempts at witicisms.
    Grandchildren make up for it.
    The embarrassment of my kids has become the pride of my grandkids.

  2. Adulthood is within sight, just beyond reach, and if dad gives him a boost up, it will be forever unattainable.

  3. Your comment was benign. Somehow when children come home as adults, they often feel, once again, like their parents are judging, correcting, and/or criticizing them like when they were teens. They don’t like feeling that way and sometimes perceive innocuous comments as critical comments. Your “boy” overreacted. You know it and he might even know it and regret it, but too late. He already blurted it out. No prob. Your his Dad and won’t hold it against him!

  4. "Fascinating," as Mr. Spock would say of some bit of wonderment or human folly that doesn't fit in his logical scheme of things. I have a great relationship with my nephew, my baby brother's son, aged 34. Were he my own son, I doubt that we could be as cordial and forgiving as we are. I almost always insist on paying for shared meals, which I'm sure would be offensive to a son, but he allows me to joke that I'm building up credit for a time when I might ask him to bring a bagful of White Castle's to my future nursing home. My daughter lives far away, which is probably mutually beneficial, as she can be almost as bossy and nosy as my sister. When we do meet, she generally doesn't have enough time, what with 2 toddlers and a punctilious husband to distract her, to bother me all that much. I'm not much of a talker, which doesn't mean that I'm immune to blurting out some inanity to a total stranger or to an ultra sensitive relative. It just means that the faux pas will stick out more and live forever, in my memory anyway.


  5. Yep. Eggshells. I've walked on a million of them. That finally ended as my son navigated his way from almost flunking out of college, to deciding after two years at Northwestern Law School that law wasn't for him, to finding his way in the field of education.
    It culminated when he and his girlfriend took his Mom and I to dinner for my 70th birthday to Alinea's.
    My short speech emphasized how lucky I've been in life and to have him as my son was the luckiest part of all. He simply said, "You deserve it."
    Neil, it won't be long before you tread normally again.


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