Aug 9, 2010

I'm not like her yet, but maybe someday...

I was raised by a couple of fiercely over-protective parents.  My dad remembered what all he got into as a teen and it scared him for me.  My mom, on the other hand, got into nothing and was going to make damn sure I didn't either.  Quiet honestly, they took it to a ridiculous extremes...their individual worries fed off one another and made them both nervous wrecks.  As a result, even though I graduated high school at 17 and was immediately accepted into FSU, they did not allow me to go...it was too far away.  Instead, they "graciously" allowed me to go to the local community college and even bought me a car, but checked my mileage at the end of each day to make sure that's the only place I went.  I wasn't even allowed to go to Orlando, only 30 miles away, without begging and pleading.  Curfew?  For a college student?  Before dark on weeknights and I could pick one weekend night to be out until 10.  Suffice it to say, that didn't work for me.  I moved out, secretly, 3 days after my 18th birthday.  My 18th birthday was the final straw, in fact...back then, 18 was the legal drinking age in Florida and it was a rite of passage to go to a nightclub on the beach called Brassy's for your 18th birthday.   I was the last in my group of friends to turn 18 and most of them were good kids from good families, yet their folks had okayed the Brassy's adventure with cautions to not let anyone drive who'd been drinking and call if they needed rides home.  Many of the parents actually rented a hotel room within walking distance for the kids that night, just to make sure everyone was safe.  So, the day of my 18th birthday came and my 2 best friends, who(m?) my parents loved like other daughters, came to get me.  I told my folks we were going to Brassy's,  Mary wasn't drinking at all due to medication she was on, so she'd be fine to drive and I promised to have no more than 2 drinks.  I thought I was being all adult and responsible.  Instead, my mom forbade me to go to "a bar like trashy people do" and told me I needed to stay home.  We argued and argued badly.  I caved and agreed to not go, told them I'd be home by 8, that I'd just go to visit friends.  I remember my dad just looking ill, knowing this was bad.  Instead of Brassy's, I went to a couple of friends looking for room mates and signed on.  3 days later, while both my folks were at work, I moved out.

I always swore I'd never, ever repeat their mistakes and I know a lot of people swear that, then when they have kids of their own and they revert right back to how they were raised.  I have not.  I was *that suffocated, that angry, over how they treated me and felt so strongly that they were wrong that I have not parented like them at all.  One example - we've had co-ed sleepovers here since Jake was 11.  I stay awake all night and watch them, but it is nothing for me to have a living room full of teenagers, male and female, in various stages of sleep.  I let couples sleep near one another so they can hold hands but they have to be cocooned in individual sheets or sleeping bags.  And I check.  Often.  All night.  I've always let Jake go to co-ed sleepovers, as well.  I mean, really, it's not like he was going to do anything he couldn't do otherwise.  Miss Arse?  Was and is always disapproving.  She gets this same tight-lipped look on her face that my old Irish Setter would get when she spotted a squirrel in a tree.  That didn't bode well for the squirrel and it hasn't been good for me, either. 

So, this weekend, Jake heads off. with my blessing and my money, to the Anime Festival in Orlando.  He's going with one couple and another girl I think he likes.  Basically, two couples. Hey, he's nearly 19 and he's upfront about them all getting a motel room together for the weekend and actually asks if I mind him going.  My own-mother-self  thumps my brain and I want to scream NO!!! and be a bitch if I have to.  But my rational self  kicks in and says, "Okay...just be super careful, call me if you need anything at all except for bail, which I won't do, and have a great time!"  Off they go and I head to my mom's so we can go grocery shopping.  Not an hour into them leaving, Jake texts me to give me an update...lol.  Miss Arse and I both laugh since he always texts me within an hour of being apart, regardless of which one of us leaves.  Over the course of the weekend, I've heard from him several times, just checking in or replying to my telling him something, even if I say he doesn't need to reply.  So, she calls me around midnight, just before she goes to bed, to ask if he's home.  I tell her no, he asked if I minded if they stayed one more night since they were all tired and I told him it was fine, especially since our a/c is down.  Miss Arse?  Gets very quiet and I'm braced for the criticism because I'm not doing it as she did and that is generally wrong, not to mention immoral.  Instead she says, "You know, you're a better and smarter mom than I was when you were that age.  I wouldn't let you have that freedom so you fought and took it anyway and kept your distance.  You've let go, you've given him his freedom, and he stays close even if he's not in the house with you.  I wish I'd done that with you."  Yeah, I wish she'd have done that, too, because I'd have totally never left home for years, considering how much I love my parents.  And I'd have known every payphone in this county personally.  But the fact she said this, acknowledged this? Means the world to me.  Lord, I love that old woman fiercely...she's might be nearly 82, but she's still learning and embracing what she learns, accepting that things change.  And she's not too proud to admit when she is wrong.  Finally...after all these years...I can say that I hope I'm like her someday, because she's turned into an amazing mother and grandmother these days.  How lucky am I, having her as a mother and Jake as a son?  Even if he is off in some hotel doing God knows what.

11 comments:

Melissa said...

If I can parent my kids even remotely this way when they're Jake's age then I'll be okay. I don't know that I'll be able to though. What a great post.

Robin in Montana said...

I don't have anything to say. I loved that. :*)

Karen said...

I love this too - alot! You are lucky - you have a great family!

esthermelvin said...

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Jeanette said...

Dammit Lisa. I come to your blog when I need a good laugh. This? Made me get all teary eyed. It was a good kind of teary eyed though, so I forgive you.

I know how much that must have meant to you, because I know it would mean so much to me. I'm glad Miss Arse opened up and shared it with you.

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Dawn said...

A little late and at the end of all the Chinese porn bots, but I just had to comment.

You have to be the coolest mom ever! (Well, besides me) *laughs* I did the same with my girls.

It's awesome that your able to have such a great relationship with your mom now. She must be just as amazing as you.

Thanks for such a wonderful post.

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