Monday, February 13, 2012

Who? What? Where?

Dear kids, yes we know you are adults, but we still worry. Not because we don’t trust you or because we feel we have to be in on your every decision. But we have spent a lifetime wiping tears, cleaning cuts and scrapes, and listening to problems that were devastating one day and forgotten the next. We’ve laughed with you, cried with you and supported you financially and emotionally. We loved every minute but there are a few things we need from you. Number one, just keep me informed.

Last week my daughter Lauren was filming in Miami on the set of Burn Notice. She was leaving Miami around five in the afternoon and called to let me know she was going directly to her Stand-Up class. She complained that the traffic was horrible and drivers were crazy in Miami. So at midnight when she should have been home by ten-ish I started worrying. Had she been forced to get off in a bad area of town due to a traffic accident and gotten carjacked, lying dead on one of the horrible side streets in Liberty City.

Then today I called my son, Daniel. He answered with, “I’ll call you right back.” He sounded out of breath and I heard cars in the background. Was he in an accident on 95. Was he with Amanda and had an accident? Had one of them been pulled over?

And then there’s the baby. Brooke has been independent since she was first walking. I remember when she was two my friend stopped by and as she was leaving she kidded, “I think I’ll just take this one home with me.”

Brooke held her arms up to the woman and looked at me and said, “Bye Bye”.

More often than not when she gets off work she and friends go out. We may not see or hear her until 2 or three in the morning. Which would be fine, except she and Lauren live at home and I wake up and see the downstairs light on and know they aren’t in. The crazy thoughts take over. Is she safe? If not how will I find her?

I don’t think kids realize that when you’ve spent your whole life raising them, caring about them, loving them, that no matter what age they may be, you worry. Add to that the fact that I am a writer and my creative side takes over. I just finished a book and it has a pretty scary serial killer in it. The research I had to do on serial killers added a whole new level to my worries.

I remember I was talking to my dad once and I said, “Aren’t you glad we’re older and you don’t have to worry?”

He looked at me and said, “Different ages, different problems.”

In the end, Lauren was just late because class ran over. Dan was in line at the grocery, paying the cashier and didn’t want to be rude, (where the car noise came from I’ll never know) and 9 times out of 10 Brooke is safe in her bed in the morning. (Once in awhile Brooke just stays at the house where the party was. And on a side note…I wrote this when Brooke was living at home. She has since bought a house and moved out. I worry less, ignorance is truly bliss.)

The bottom line is “just let us know”. We don’t expect to be involved on your lives to the same extent we were when you were small; in fact NO ONE wants that. Just help us not worry. In this day and age with phones and texting and all the other communication apparatus it’s easier than ever to “drop us a line”.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Better This Time Around

This social media thing has me perplexed. I mean, I am such a people pleaser that almost anyone who “friends” me is accepted into my list. But here’s the thing. Some of the people that reach out to me are from high school. A time when we were all a little anxious, dealing with all the crazy mixed up feelings and attitudes that come with being a teenager. The last thing I want is for someone from my past to think that I am that same person.

When I think of my high school years I see a girl that never felt she measured up. That was always looking for a way to fit in. I had friends. I joined clubs. But there was always a part of me that felt like an outsider. Until I met Kirk my junior year, I never really felt like I was a part of anything special.

My Mother doesn’t understand. She loved high school. She was smart and she was popular. She is still in close contact with many of the girls with which she graduated. In fact when she comes to Florida we take a couple days to head to the other coast to visit her lifelong friend Rosie. They have been friends for over 70 years.

I try to tell her that when you graduate with 50 people, it’s much different then graduating with 500. We were lucky we all didn’t get a little lost in the crowd.

Now with facebook come all these faces from the past. I love catching up with people whose lives touched mine during those days gone by. I love seeing the people they’ve become and share in the joy as their families grow. (We’re mostly grandparents now.)

SO- here’s the question; What about the ones that hurt you? The ones that made you feel like you were less of a person? The ones that betrayed your friendship and caused you pain?

Do you assume that like yourself they have moved on, becoming a different person in their later years? Do you accept that social networking is just that and expanding your friendships moves you on to a better place?

I moved away from my small town when I was 21. I settled in Florida and kept in touch with only five of my friends from High School. We watched and grew together, seeing each other through the ups and downs, the good times and bad. But with social networking you’re in contact with a person for perhaps the first time in 35 years. Sometimes it’s like you’ve been stuck in a time warp and you are thrown back to that time, with all the insecurities included.

So let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume the crazy, self involved teenagers have turned out as caring, considerate adults, just trying to get by.

I will if you will…