Who Is That Thing?

THE Relationship Blog


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We really do not know our children. No, this is not one of those ‘they will lie to you if they can’ post. Sure, they will lie to us and manipulate and wheedle but that is just normal growing up. Any parent worth their salt knows this. We do not know our children because we, as parents, do not want to see them as they are; little reflections of us in the world.

Here is the story that started this little line of upsetting insight on my part. We just dropped off our daughter, Jeannie, at college for her first semester. While we were there, she and I had several meetings with counselors, mentors and the like. After we left, we get a call from one of them saying that she did not make it to the follow up meeting. I, of course, freak out and begin a nice rant at Lee (while we are driving through the hairpin turns of the Colorado Rockies, mind you) about how Jeannie just ignores responsibilities and can’t communicate when it comes to appointments and all of the other things that come when a parent rants about their kid.

Lee gets a hold of Jeannie, via text, and my daughter says that she had conflicting appointments, left a message with the mentor the night before and had already spoken to her to reschedule.

I was de-ranted and feeling more than a little guilty.

Following this week’s theme of defense mechanisms, of not seeing the truth because the truth holds to many implications, I found that I was having problems seeing my daughter as an adult. I saw her as a 14 year old that needed daddy and mommy to handle her shit because, God knows, she can’t. I was not seeing her as a person with adult responsibilities, rationalizations, coping skills and scheduling conflicts. I could not understand that she has some of the same day-to-day dilemmas as I do.

I am working very hard at seeing my children, especially my daughter, through unfiltered eyes. Now I know that that is an impossibility since we all have our filters but the least that I can do is acknowledge and accept these and try to do something about it.

So, why do we do this? Why is it so hard to see our little ones as they are and not some fixed point in the past? Part of it is human nature. Let’s face it, most of Buddhism talks about seeing each moment as an independent moment. I figure that, if we need a whole religion about it, it must be a pretty hard task.

The other part is that the ramifications of my little girl getting older and maturing is that I am getting older and my baby does not need me the way that she used to. If I cannot handle my own mortality, my aging and change in developmental stages, then how can I handle all of the little pieces that make up my aging? So instead I hold my children in stasis and that’s just not right.

So I am getting old, my daughter is getting older, and I need to stop acting like she is a baby. Or else I can send her to college in diapers but she might get laughed at. Wait, that might work! She gets picked on and I can go in and be big bad ass daddy. Good idea, Paul. I am off to go buy extra large diapers.

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