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My Generation’s Parents

A while back, my friend Angela showed me this.  I laughed, recognizing myself, but also wondering a bit at the source of my generation’s nearly ubiquitous fatigue.

I got a piece of the puzzle handed to me when meeting a friend’s parents for the first time.

I’ve known this friend for around 20 years. If you’re a thinking person, you recognize that if your child has friends of such long standing, it’s because they are good people, good friends, worth knowing. And if your child’s friends go way way way out of their way to be with your child on that day, and bother to take the time to meet you, it’s probably because their relationship to your child is important to them.

So maybe, just maybe, repeatedly implying that your child is not a success, or isn’t trying hard enough, or is some kind of disappointment, is not only utterly uncalled-for, but really just five shades of fucked up.

Here’s the deal, old man. This is my friend. I don’t appreciate you attempting to harpoon my friend, and I really REALLY don’t appreciate you trying to pretend like you don’t understand what I’m saying to you in pushback to your not-nearly-as-subtle-or-clever-as-you-think jibes. The appropriate response to an honest (and therefore wholly supportive and complimentary) recitation of your child’s skills is pride, you stupid bastard.

Here’s what you aren’t seeing. You aren’t seeing that I have his back, and always will, against you and another six like you. Just because you’re incapable of recognizing the success your child is doesn’t mean you get to be rude to him and to me both, for daring to stand up to your hot and cold running derision

I have a sneaking suspicion, in fact, that the reason my friend wanted me to meet you was so that I could better help support him in breaking further away from you. You might have spent our time together building him up, and earning both his loyalty and mine. Instead, you assumed that your relationship of blood allows you greater liberty with him than my relationship based on mutual respect does.

You are wrong.

My generation are slowly strengthening the bonds of friendship and chosen family, and we’re done letting you commit the torture of a thousand papercuts upon our souls in imagined solitude, isolation, and shame. We’re tired of waiting for you to figure out how spectacular we truly are, and the cold fact is that we will outlive you, and our friendships with people who are truly appreciative and supportive of us will last longer than the time you were given to be with us, that you squandered in your vanity, arrogance, and self-absorption.

Your loss, Boomer Generation. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

5 Responses to “My Generation’s Parents”

  • Val:

    http://havenkimmel.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/surely-goodness-and-mercy/

    Here she says it all, layer upon layer. I’m so sorry your friend has such a damaging, rude parent.

    You’ve heard all the things I have to say multiple times: We will spend more of our children’s lives relating to them as other adults than we did raising them, and that’s a beautiful thing.

    Adult children are beyond wonderful. They’re a gift I never imagined. Treat them badly??? That’s absurd, disgusting, ridiculous. Misunderstandings happen. That’s life. But mean treatment? Bullshit.

    My parents and my kids are among my very best friends. I’m grateful for my non-related friends–we chose each other. But those two youngsters who took care of me when I was little? Their parents? Kind.

    And when they’re teenagers trying to find their own space and adult person and shove us away with snotty tones and lack of information? It’s part of the process. I point it out to them, but don’t create an emergency about it. It’s as natural as two year olds storming their feet about crackers.

    Oh, L. Thank you for sticking up for your friend and for pointing out that where family does not function as community, it’s fine to move on and create a different community.

    Thanks for being my friend. I am lucky for you. love, Val

  • bryan:

    Treat your children well, for they will be taking care of you, or choosing your nursing home.

  • I hear you. But please don’t tar all “Boomer Generation” people with the same tired brush (uh, some of us did it to our parents). There are people like that in all generations. Many of us old men and women who are parents of adult children (mine are 39 and 40) know and cherish how wonderful they are. We respected them when they were kids and we do the same now.

  • Thank you for this.

  • When this is happening to scenario happens to you, its so hard to see beyond the hurt. Thanks for this birds eye view of the situation. Very helpful.

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