…is that, by and large, they’re a nosy lot. They always want to know what their children are doing. There were a couple of years, with both children, that I felt like good riddance to bad rubbish but that’s just that survival of the species thing that allows everyone to separate, leave home, get a life. My experience says that your kids go and get a life and then you sit home wondering what they’re up to. Okay, I’ll speak for myself. I sit home wondering what my children are up to. (Every time I use the word children, think “grown young adults” because, to be honest, that’s what they are.) I don’t think men get this, at least Rich doesn’t. He just assumes they’re out there somewhere, doing fine as long as we don’t hear otherwise. But I have a powerful need to know. Maybe this is because my mother was more like Rich- no news was good news and we didn’t talk for months at a time. It’s a little reaction formation thing where I can be completely engrossed- in a book, a movie, dinner out- but it’s rarely more than a hair’s breadth away that I can’t be reminded that those children are out there in the world and I don’t know what they are doing.
Also. My children are real gadabouts. On any given day they are in another country. Dan has been in about 35 states and 7 different countries in the last two months alone. Abby is wandering around rural Mexico as I type. Before that it was Africa. And half the time she’s under water in some blue hole, cliff diving or contracting diseases from mosquitoes. Combine their lifestyles with my vivid imagination and it’s a wonder I can walk a straight path between here and the bathroom.
I have the kind of children who do many things- daring, interesting, worrisome- all without sharing. This is probably because they have had some bad luck with sharing. Sometimes, if Abby calls and tells me what she’s been up to she has to make a second call to tell Rich to calm me down. What, oh, what is a mother to do? Join Facebook is the simple answer.
Here are some interesting things I have discovered about my children by reading their Facebook pages:
-Abby spent her freshman year Spring Break jello wrestling in a bar for money. I learned this by way of posted photos.(not exactly an Olympic sport…)(Abby wins. These photos were posted with the caption, “This doesn’t taste very much like jello…”)
-Abby suggests to a friend that they go hustle pool one evening to make laundry money.
-I see a photo of Abby cliff diving off of sheer rock face in Mexico.
-Abby goes to a concert freshman year and ends up a groupie in the road trailer of the Wu Tang Gang and there is a picture of her snuggled up to them on the sofa.(I have nothing to say here. Rendered speechless.)
-Abby, at 22, has a Russian boyfriend who she subsequently marries- without telling me. For weeks, I can’t walk a straight path…
(Abby shares this picture with me and says she and Misha were “all dressed up for a friend’s wedding.” )
(these are the kinds of photos your children don’t share with you but share with the rest of the world.)
Yes, yes, she’s a stellar academic, applying for law/Ph.D programs. She’s the president of the chess club. She speaks in several languages, including Russian and reads ancient and modern Greek. She’s happily married to a delightful young man we adore. But people! The Wu Tang Clan!!!
And then there’s the child I’m never supposed to write about, the one nicknamed Eeyore at age three- melancholic and sweet, beautiful and gentle and with that heart thing. God forbid I make myself apparent through a comment on his page but it’s as though he has a whole different personality, a whole different life over there on Face Book. I justify reading his FB page this way: I think I am the one most likely to hear about his trials and woes. I hear about his anxieties and insecurities, his self doubts, his fears that no one cares for him, that he’s fat and ugly… He calls me when he is hurting and I am grudgingly grateful for that. I don’t know why he does because the poor child usually gets an unsympathetic, “buck up” sort of response but he calls and I’m glad. (He’s not calling me right now because I’m bugging him about a red tape mundane detail I want him to take care of before we meet up in Chicago in a couple weeks, something to do with insurance, license, so forth- you get the idea). So, when I want to see him happy and busy and creative and smiling I flip over to his FB page and it’s like a gift. I see pictures of him with Ann Arbor friends, on the road making music, loving up small children we know.
He’s making plans to bike or swim or run (he did that marathon, you know, with that heart thing). He’s painting, sharing a funny story, getting more invitations to enjoy life in a weekend than I get in a year. He’s in France, he’s in Zurich, he’s in Slovenia at some castle lolling about in a hot spring at the edge of a forest, he’s dining on fresh seafood in Greece. I love it.(He has so much fun and doesn’t tell me!)
My children write things on FB I don’t understand or things that make me laugh or both. To wit:
– IRB = Pain in my ass
– ok ok voy a estar esperandote!!!! cuidate y buen viaje
-I miss math aerobics, anyone feel me?
–Handed out all his Tracy Morgan gift cards and now is going to sleep again before his rehearsal…
-Cleaning house with Arthur Russell…
-Just finished Dead Man…….. Phew!!!!
Even though there are many annoying, stupid and ridiculous things about FB, for me (in addition to the inane Farkle, Scrabble and FarmVille) it’s a window where this nosy mother can catch a glimpse of her children, living life to the fullest. Yup, I really love it.