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Sometimes, on the rarest of occasions, I annoy the hell out of my children.  I know, right?  How could this be?  I mean, it's ME.  And as far as I'm concerned, I'm so unannoyable.

However, I've started noticing that now that all four of my children are in their 20's and out of the house, they seem to be doing quite well without me.  Three of them live in California, a thousand miles away from their mother who loves them.

I always taught them to explore and be adventuresome.  When they went to college, I thought it was important they go out of state, experience a new place, meet new people.

I always encouraged them to go where their heart was calling them.... to travel to places foreign and unknown.

I'm kicking myself for raising them this way.  I guess I always assumed that whatever their exploration consisted of, it would be getting something out of their system, that type of temporary.

I don't see any of those three coming back any time soon. And I'm starting to wonder if maybe they don't come back because I can be so annoying.  This could be one of those blind spots I don't see, so I'm doing some self-examination to see if there's any truth to it.

My youngest, gone for several years to the East Coast jungles of school in Boston just transferred to CU, Boulder and I've been beyond ecstatic to have her living close by once again.

Yesterday, she asked me to help her go shopping. I eagerly agreed, anticipating the intimate and close conversations we were sure to share.

In the car, she began talking about her relationship with her boyfriend.  I could so relate to her trials and tribulations!  Her concerns reminded me of a recent argument I had had with my husband.

Thinking I was sharing pearls of wisdom, I started to tell her about my conflict with the intention of weaving in the similarities of the lessons being learned.  I got cut off mid-sentence.

"Mom, you need to stop already with your personal stories.  Always you are telling me the personal stories.  I don't care about your stories! You are not me!   I'm trying to talk to you about me!  I need you to listen!"

Oh yeah, LISTEN.  Geez, you would think I would remember that, given what I do, but if the truth be told, I could definitely be a better listener all the way around.  I tend to get too excited with all the thoughts and ideas jumping around in my active brain.

I must be unaware of something I'm doing.  I'll be going along in the conversation, really into whatever it is we're talking about, and there is a sudden window of silence and then a, "Hey, gotta go Mom.  It was great talking to you.  We'll talk soon.  Love you."  Click.

It always catches me off guard. I feel a little clumsy and irritating and stupid, like I talked too much, or I was too self-absorbed or I wasn't listening carefully enough, or that I'm boring.

It probably doesn't help that I say really stupid things like, "Do you ever miss me?  Do you ever think about moving home?"  You know, things that sound insecure and needy.  I hate it when I do this because I really don't feel that way.  I love my life, my husband, our friends, my profession.  I like the company I keep with myself.  So I'm not sure where this icky needy part comes from, like I'm Sybil and this annoying personality comes out from time to time.

The last time I said something needy was to my oldest son and it had something to do with some time he had recently spent with his father.  I was feeling a bit competitive if I'm going to be totally honest with you. His quick response was, "Mom, you've got to stop already with that petty bullshit.  You know I love you and have a fantastic relationship with you.  Really, you have nothing to worry about.  You are the person I go to.  But the insecure bullshit, really, Mom, it's just not you."

That kid is so wise!   My face was red nonetheless.

It probably doesn't help either when I take Ambien.  I was visiting two of my children in LA several months ago.  It was the evening of the fantastic but devastating American Idol finale.  I was at my other son's apartment and just hanging out with him and my other daughter.  When it got late, I took an Ambien so I could sleep in the unfamiliar surroundings.  I continued to hang out with them, listening to them talk about their lives.

The next morning they got up, and came out of their rooms with looks of disgust on their faces.

"Mom, we can't believe what you were saying last night!  Do you remember what you said last night?  It was so gross!!!"

I had no idea what they were talking about.

"Mom, you were talking about monkeys having sex and that it was a bit of a turn on thinking about it, and you told us to get over it because you are a sexual human being!  Really Mom!  That was just too much!"

Fortunately, they were laughing when they said that.  At least I did that much...passed on a good sense of humor.

But, oh please God, tell me I didn't say that!  The monkey sex stuff! WTH?  My mind was a blank...I hadn't even read a recent National Geographic or watched the Discovery channel.  Damn that Ambien!   I'm suing Ambien!   I pleaded total innocence on that one. But they were sure in a hurry to get back to school and their jobs and lives.  Like they were pacing around the room asking when exactly my flight was back to Colorado and they might have to drop me off at the airport early.  

When it gets right down to it, I don't care how old your kids are.  Your kids could have kids, be in their twenties, thirties, forties, etc. and I think they still want their parents to be their parents.  Not like parents who still try to parent them, but parents who are doing well and are happy with the lives they have made for themselves.

They don't want all the intimate details of their parent's lives.  They want their parents to be the ones they can go to for a listening ear and a small piece of wisdom (when asked for).

The next time I’m with my kids,  I'm going to try not to annoy them or bore them, I really am, but then again I'm not going to be all paranoid about it either.  I'm happy with who I am, who I've become.  I've gone through a fair amount of transformations, and no matter how irritating I may be from time to time, they are better off because of who I've become.

But the next time I’m with them, there will be no Ambien, definitely definitely no Ambien.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tina Sickinger wrote Sep 9, 2009
    • This is so true. Parents try too hard to be their children’s friend. It is great to have a close relationship with them where you can talk about things and share your lives the way friends do, but there is a point where the line must be drawn. A parent will always be a parent...not a friend. They do hold you on a kind of pedestal that they do not their friends. They look to you with respect and with honor. If you place yourself at the level of friendship, I believe you are likely to lose those qualitites that every parent holds dear. Let them have their friends, but continue to respect and honor their parents while coming to them for the advice on life issues that really matter. The friends can sweat the small stuff. estatic

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Sep 9, 2009
    • Thanks for sharing...really makes so much sense...the monkey part was quite funny!estatic

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Sep 10, 2009
    • This was too hysterical! I’m gonna have to try that Ambien thing next time I go visit my daughter.... YEP I do like to mess with them!

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