The thing about mothers…

…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.ย 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.jello tag team(not exactly an Olympic sport…)abbywins(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.wutang(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…abbymisha

(Abby shares this picture with me and says she and Misha were “all dressed up for a friend’s wedding.” )
n521353284_516988_2029(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.6176_1114568578068_1042530384_30298156_6321533_n

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.5288_1103275581167_1205046459_30248998_7507944_n(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

RISK PARTY!

-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.4891_108186483176_524543176_2109208_2410094_n

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17 responses to “The thing about mothers…

  1. I sit here with an amazed look on my face.
    YOU FOUND????!!!! THEIR FACEBOOK PAGES??????!!!!!
    HOW? I still haven’t found Nyssa’s, though she is talking about taking it down and has been prudent about what she posted… or so she says. What with employers looking there for info on prospective hires and grad schools doing the same thing.

    You are right though… we sit here and wonder what they are doing… even if in reality we don’t want to know… it would be better for our hearts if we didn’t know… we will live longer if we don’t know… or even ask.

  2. What Beverly said. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Nice thing about FB – no one can see your stuff unless you let them or someone copies it to their blog and the boss finds it.

    Am I clueless or is she indeed legally married?

  4. My niece added me on Facebook a few months ago. I looked at her news feed for about five minutes and decided to hide her right away. I called her and said, “I love you, Andrea, but I really don’t want to know everything about you.” She understood. Same is true for my step-daughters. I’m delighted that they wanted us to be their friends, but really, would I have wanted my parents reading my news feed when I was in my early 20s? My answer is an emphatic no.

    Still, those photos are very cute and I understand the desire to be close when they are so far away. An interesting dilemma.

  5. I have never even opened a facebook webpage.
    Nor have I twittered, although I have signed up.

    Your kids are amazing!

  6. I’m a bad mom. I let my daughter, age nine, have a FB account. But then again, she knows I read it!

    I somehow missed your long post about your son…I agree with FC, your kids are amazing. He is one gifted musician!

    And, can I be your Facebook friend? I’m deb.sewell1 (I think)

  7. uhhh…substitute “deborah” for “deb”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. One of my daughters friended me on FB and so far five of my grandchildren and my daughter-in-law have, but one is adamant about maintaining her privacy on FB!! I enjoy reading what the grandkids say, and seeing their camp photos, and if that’s nosy – then I am! LOL

    How’s your nose?

  9. I would be so dead were I to post a blog such as you have written. I am friends with my two children (aka young adults) on FB, but I am under strict STRICT orders to not comment, etc. Once I sent a note to one of my daughter’s friends–via FB–he and I have the same birth date (not year, of course). I caught holy hell for the longest time for that.
    I must say your roving daughter sounds a bit like mine–who is now London based. She too did the Africa thing for a while. But it gave me the excuse to visit her, which was well worth it.

  10. I’m in my early twenties and, honestly, if my mom found my facebook, she wouldn’t have learned anything CLOSE to what you learned. Married without you knowing? That is INTENSE! haha. They seem like they’re having a fun time and not putting themselves in any real danger (hopefully). They seem pretty awesome ha

  11. It’s the Wu-Tang CLAN, not GANG! God! Don’t you know ANYTHING?

    Nosy moms rock. And I choose to believe that underneath it all, they appreciate our nosiness.

  12. Facebook… a blessing and a curse. All those glimpses and the wondering why we weren’t let in to be a part of whatever.

    (Hugs)

    I’ve been thinking of you Vicki, and Bud, and not really knowing what to do with any of it.

  13. My kids won’t let me be there friend and have access to their facebook pages. So, what does that say about me? I think it means I am the queen of nagging. You have two amazing kids, heart problem and dengue fever aside, you need to quit worrying. Ok, so I need to quit worrying. That makes two of us.

  14. I’ve found out lots of things on FB, some that I’ve wanted to know and some I haven’t. I rarely understand Alison’s updates because they’re often lyrics from songs I don’t know. I found out that she had a boyfriend on FB. I love the photos-did you steal them from FB? hee hee

  15. Wow. I thouroghly enjoyed this post! I’ll echo that you do have great kids, and they are lucky to call you mom.

    I too have my step kids (in there 20s) and some of their friends on my FB. I’ll admit to some headscratching myself at some of the things I read, understood or not.

  16. You are my role model, as always, Vicki. Someday my kid will be on FB. I intend to let her do it (before she does it on her own) so that she knows I’ll be friends with her there. But, when I freak about what’s posted on it, will you talk me down? ๐Ÿ™‚

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