Lately, I’ve been noticing a shift in my relationship with my sons — actually, they’re starting to get on my last nerve. They mean well, but …
Let me qualify my opening words: Greg and Jeff hold the undisputed title as the “world’s greatest sons.” Both have seen me through the most grindingly difficult challenges of my life. Although they live on the West Coast (only “time away”), we remain a close-knit family. But lately, they’ve become a tad overprotective.
When I leased a sporty new car with a turbo engine, I got lectures about my driving:
Greg: “Mom, be careful driving that car; don’t speed. Why do you need a turbo engine anyway?”
“Greg, remember when we were in your souped-up Dodge Charger and you tried to make a turn and cut the curb?”
“Ah, yes, Mom, but … ”
“Jeff: “Mom, I know you have a lead foot; monitor your speed!”
Hmm. Did they forget who taught them to drive?
I’ve always dreamed of buying a motorcycle. My fantasy is to dye my hair red and to take off for parts unknown on a Harley. When I jokingly mentioned this to my kids, they were none too thrilled with the motorcycle momma image.
Greg: “Mom, stick with the car. “
“Humph! Now the car is OK?”
Greg: Deafening silence.
Jeff: “Mom, you’re making me nervous.”
“Jeff, you kept me awake many a night with your shenanigans, Remember when you were underage and took the car? A neighbor called and snitched on you. I told our neighbor she was mistaken. Dad and I went outside and watched as you drove past us.”
“OK, Mom, OK.”
I’ve reassured them, but really, these phone lectures are getting old. Good Lord! They’ve even become interested in my social life!
Walking on the beach this morning, I had a magical moment of awareness: I realized that the tables have turned.
When Greg and Jeff were growing up, obviously I wanted the particulars and asked questions: Where’s the party? I never heard that name before. Are the parents at home? No drinking or smoking pot!
Although my questions were met with rolling eyeballs, I did get answers, or so I thought. It’s only recently that I learned that I was given half-truths. The other half fell into the category of the sins of omission.
Jeff was punished and banned from going out. Arriving home, his Dad and I were shocked to find a bunch of kids in his room. When questioned, he stated boldly: “Mom, you said I can’t go out, but you never said my friends can’t come in.”
I learned to be specific in a hurry!
Greg and I had a standing joke about his girlfriends: “Greg, bring anyone home, except gals with gold high heels!”
Mind you, I’ve nothing against gold shoes — I own a pair myself. Back then, gold high heels were considered tacky. My eyebrows shot up when Greg brought home a barefoot girl. He informed me, “Well, Mom, at least she didn’t wear gold high heels!”
I suppose I gave my parents a run for their money, too. Incidents like climbing out my bedroom window to meet my crush or getting caught smoking in the school basement by Sister Josephine took on epic proportions. Tommy and I were seen by Father Andrews riding together on a horse in broad daylight — “broad daylight!” I still don’t get the big brouhaha the horse incident caused. Unfortunately, these and other stories of my shenanigans have become family legends.
What goes around really does come around. I gave my parents grief and my kids returned the favor. Perhaps Greg and Jeff are viewing me from a different perspective.
Recently I heard Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle” and started chuckling. The last stanza goes like this: “As I hung up the phone it occurred to me he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.