Site Meter Elsie's Space: "Oh, Mom"
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Location: New England, United States

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Oh, Mom"

I wasn't hearing those words. I was saying them.

Last night the kids and I took my parents out to dinner. It's something we do regularly, especially when hubby's away from home. We arrived at the appointed hour and were having a nice conversation while sitting around their kitchen table. Kids were getting hungry. Okay, time to go. Then, out of nowhere, I hear, "Is that A ZIT on the end of your nose?" It's Mom (Nana), talking to my eleven-year-old son. He replies, "I don't know, maybe." And all I can say is, "Oh, Mom." Son lets the matter drop. I spy Nana staring at his nose several times during dinner. Son seems oblivious. I want to say something to her, but maybe it's best I learn a lesson from my little guy and simply let the whole thing go.

Dinner is fairly enjoyable. It would have been better had I not been so aggravated with my mother. I've got a thing about my kids and their bodies, or perhaps more accurately, their body images. I suppose a zit here and there is inevitable, but I certainly am never going to point them out. I don't want my son going to school, or even just playing with his friends, worrying about whether or not he has A ZIT on his cute little nose. I'm finally getting over it when... "Did you hear about that plane crash in New York City today?" "Oh, Mom!" Is she for real? What is she thinking? Both kids stare intently at her, for they know nothing about the crash. "Yesssss (as much of a hiss as I can produce without freaking out the kids). I heard about it." "Now isn't that something? You'd think there'd be precautions so something like that...." "Mom, let's talk about this later." Husband is in NYC, and the last thing I need is for Mom to talk about this stuff in front of the kids, particularly my little girl who hates when Daddy is away from home.

I wonder. Is this just old age? Once you've reached 70, are you given a free pass to say anything that comes to mind? Do we lose our ability to censor the things we say (and when we're adults, we must speak carefully around the children)? Or maybe, as an older mother, am I too sensitive to anything that will make my kids fearful or unhappy? Am I overreacting? Am I too protective? Do I shield them from too much of this world?

I don't know. I'm not 70. I'm not a grandma. So, I take another deep breath (a habit with me lately) and remember all the things that make my mom wonderful. She is a woman who inspires many. She's still working. She's (usually) thoughtful, intelligent, and caring. She's active. She loves her family beyond words. But last night, she made me a crazy person. Hey, maybe that's it. I'm crazy. Crazy about my husband. Crazy about my kids. And I don't want anyone messing with them, even her. Oh, Mom.

6 Comments:

Blogger Liz said...

You know it's not ill-intentioned but that doesn't really help, does it?

I'd suggest it's age. My mother-in-law managed to spoil the surprise my son-in-law had for my daughter last christmas. On the phone Anna kept saying, 'We haven't opened our presents yet, grandma,' but Grandma still asked if she liked the bracelet Steve had bought for her!

That's not the same as commenting on your son's zit, but it's still something she wouldn't have done a few years ago.

Maybe we need to acquire an extra-quick-wittedness to defuse a situation or re-direct a conversation!

And an extra dose of patience and forgiveness!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Peter (the other) said...

It's short, but a bit spicy so I shall not paste it here, in deference to our genteel hostess. Still, Philip Larkin's take on family suits me about right. Besides, I like to stir you up a bit.... ;-)

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just have to give folks of a certain age a pass. I think the grandkids do a better job of ignoring it (since they, too, are known for infuriating behavior)than we kids.

As for me, I'm looking forward to reaching the age where I can do away with the personal regulators and let fly with whatever the hell I want! Woo-hoo - one of the joys (and privileges) of old age, me thinks. And I'm going to wear clashing colors and patterns. Not 'cause I won't know better, but just 'cause I can.

I plan to kick ass and live into my character-hood when I get old(er). No tellin' what'll come out of my mouth!

So ignore Mama's telling it like it is. She's just embracing her elderhood. ;-)

11:00 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Liz, I've always wanted to be more quick-witted than I am. I've worked on it over the years, but I'm always the one to come up with a great come back five minutes too late. I fear I'm hopeless! I just might be able to pull off patience and forgiveness though, no time limit on that.

Peter, I think YOU are a bit spicy! Genteel? Me? I can't believe I've finally found someone more gullible than I am!! And as for stirring me up, right back at you...., I may have found my calling.

Mary, no doubt you WILL kick ass, sounds like you already do. And, just so you know, you were in my thoughts on plane crash day, too. But I just knew you'd be okay. Who else in bloggersville will be able to share the joys of winter with me? Are you ready? Feeling the chill? Let it snow!

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Winston said...

And it gets worse with age. My Mom is 85 and will blurt out things that she would never have said, even just a few year ago. She is physically a wreck (arthritis), but mentally and emotionally OK. Getting a bit forgetful, sometimes to the point of being embarrassing. We're learning that we just don't tell her anything unless we're OK with it being repeated, usually with embellishment. Or we end up saying "Oh, Mom."

7:48 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Winston, my sister also advises not telling our mom anything for the very same reasons. I've got a 95-year-old grandma who is still quite discreet. Go figure.

9:56 AM  

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