When did I become my child's child? When did this happen? Now that I am aware of it, I notice it all the time. Have I gotten so old that I now have to be treated like a child by my child?
My 33-year-old son is staying with me temporarily due to some financial hardships we are both experiencing. I am fortunate to live in a lovely area with lots of shops and stores within walking distance. I have a friend that lives in the same apartment building whom he has met and likes quite well. I mentioned that she and I were going for a walk to get some exercise.
HIM: “Where are you going for your walk?”
ME: “We are just walking up to Patrick Street and then stopping in Rite-Aid to pick up a few things. I should be back in about an hour.”
HIM: “You can’t walk up there, the intersection is too busy. You’ll get hit by a car! You have to cross four busy lanes of traffic, you WILL get hit by a car!”
ME: “WHAT? Are you serious?”
HIM: “Mom, it's not like the olden days!” (Did he really just say 'olden days'? Is it possible he said 'Golden Age'?)
ME: “You are out of your mind! I DO KNOW HOW TO CROSS A DAMN STREET!!! I’m the one that taught you how to cross the street about 30 years ago! I'll be back later, if not, alert the media, police and if it is nearing dark, might I suggest SEAL Team 6?”
This conversation actually took place. I seriously could not believe my ears. While his concern is quite genuine and touching and I dearly love him for it, I feel that it is a bit premature. I can still dress myself and everything!
Since then, these are the things I am asked when leaving the apartment and they sound VERY familiar.
HIM: “Where are you going tonight? Who else is going to be there? You can't walk or drive, you can't see after dark.” (Who knew I was now completely blind?) “Can't one of your friends pick you up?”
ME: “I am only going to Vivian's house, you know, the house that is only three miles from here? I'll be driving, thank you! Apparently, I have adapted quite well to my blindness.”
HIM: “Whatever, mom, you're going to do it no matter what I say so just go ahead!”
ME: “You already know who to alert should I never return.” (snort)
If I’m going out with friends at night on a weekend and God forbid, DRIVING MY CAR, the interrogation begins something like this:
HIM: “What time will you be home? Make sure you have your phone and charger with you so you can use your Navigation. You always get lost!” (Maybe because I am blind?) “Who else is going? Make sure you leave their Contact info just in case I need it for something. Oh, and text or call me so I know you got there okay! And God mom, DO NOT drink and drive!!! Do you have a designated driver? Who is NOT drinking so they can drive?”
ME: “I doubt I will even have a drink.” (laughing silently but shoulders definitely quaking)
HIM: “If you DO drink, make sure you DO NOT leave your drink at the bar or on a table. Take it with you and make sure to hold it close to you. Someone will put something in it and kidnap you – or worse!” (Damn! You know that whiskey is going to leave a wicked stain on my inappropriately low-cut blouse with all that jostling and clutching!!)
Honestly, depending on my mood, the man, the drug and how tightly that duct tape is bound around my wrists, it could actually be an interesting night! (Hmmmmm, considering possibilities)
When did I become a doddering old lady with the decision-making ability of a two year old? Aren’t these the exact same things I asked and told him as a child and teenager? I had no idea I was now a feeble nincompoop that was no longer able to navigate the street alone or find my way from one place to another. Who knew? Am I ready for “the home”? Do I need some sort of mental evaluation? Am I displaying some sort of behavior that is alarming him that I am not aware of? NO. He needs a mental evaluation because HE is displaying behavior that is alarming me and seriously cramping my lifestyle! Wait, did he just look at me sideways because of the outfit I have on? (Surely not, but oh yes he did!)
When an old friend of mine who happens to be male (OMG! the audacity!) contacted me about possibly getting together for dinner I mentioned it to my son. (My first sign that perhaps I actually was slipping a bit.)
HIM: “Well, tell him you aren't going anywhere with him. He's only looking for one thing, especially if he buys you dinner!” (GASP!)
ME: “Yes, son, because I have always been the kind of woman who drops her Victoria's Secret thong for a man because he bought me some Crab Alfredo and a glass of Chianti at the Olive Garden. How do you think you were conceived??”
HIM: “MO-OOOM! That is so disgusting!!!”
I gathered from his statement that he at least acknowledged that I remember what sex is. Whew! The thought of him sitting me down to have the awkward “talk” about where babies come from via the ol' birds and bees conversation was more than I could bear. Imagine my shock to find out that I have a vagina (what?) and boys have the always to be avoided, never to be thought of and for God's sake, never seen, penis!! Thank all that is holy and the sweet baby Jesus I was able to dodge that bullet. (Shudder.)
So, let's review, shall we?
I may not, under any circumstances, go out alone, particularly after dark, to walk or drive to any destination because:
I am blind
I cannot cross the street alone
I will just wander aimlessly
I will never find my way home
I have the mind of a two-year old
This very much limits any possibility of me ever having fun again. This is not good; I take my fun very seriously! (How can you take fun seriously? That's an oxymoron. Did someone just call me a moron, damn it?) I most certainly may not, ever, in a million years, even think about going out with a man—they only want one thing you know! (Isn't that the point?)
I do think he would feel a lot better if I would be willing to don a drool bib, a Super Sippy Cup with an impenetrable lid so no potential roofie rockin' perv could drug me, an “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” jumbo sized Medic, Police and SEAL team 6 Alert Disc, (picture Flavor Flav and his clock necklace), my keys, phone, charger, pepper spray, map, a long strand of Christmas lights in case I hurl myself into oncoming traffic while trying to cross the street, a “Hi my name is Mary and my address is 123 Always Lost Lane.
Should you find me wandering the streets or happen to be a gentlemanly type of roofie rockin' perv willing to drop me off at my home after spiking my drink and kidnapping me “or worse”, please return me to above address” sign, a fold up cane and I may just throw in a fresh pair of pink panties for good measure, one can never be too prepared!
Damn, that 40 lb. Medic, Police and SEAL team 6 'Neck Chevron' (apparently this is an incredibly long, fabric necklace that hangs around your neck like a cowbell) with all the other senility hardware is really going to cramp my fashion style! What if I should want to dance on the bar? What if I am forced to dance for my abductor, a girl needs to look her best no matter what the circumstances!
Sixty is the new 20 I assure him, but he’s not buying it. If he had any clue what really went on when my girlfriend’s and I do go out together he would, oh yeah, I remember how this goes…..
He would sit up all night, wringing his hands, imagining the worst, wondering if I’m ok because I never did make that call or send that text letting let him know I got to where I was going in one piece. He would be wondering why in the hell I was still out at “all hours of the night” without a single word from me, eventually pacing the shine off the floor and finally, under great duress, start calling those Contact numbers uttering the words, “Hi, this is James, Mary’s son. Is my mom at your house? No? Well, is Viv there, I know they hang out together a lot? Hmmmm, any idea where they may have gone? I’m just worried sick! I never got a call or text from her letting me know she arrived safely! I'd sure appreciate it if you would have her call me right away if you should hear from Viv and they are together. Ok, thank you, bye.”
Yeah, that’s what he would do!
Welcome to Parenthood, son!