Monday, June 6, 2011

Too Close for Other's Comfort

Lately I have been having the same conversation repeatedly with Joseph, my kids, Ami and mentally (and man, can I carry on a fantastic internal dialogue!). Why is it that our culture sees maintaining a close relationship with your parents as wrong? Why does it lessen you in their eyes? Why does turning to your parents for advice, encouragement, emotional support, or just a needed dose of love and affection, mean that you are weak? immature? incapable? That simply does not make any sense to me.

If you were at work and you ran into a problem or obstacle or issue, you wouldn't be laughed at for turning to co-workers or managers for help. If you were sitting in a classroom and were confused or frustrated, you wouldn't be ridiculed for asking the teacher for assistance. If you were having a terrible (or wonderful!) day, no one would think twice if you grabbed the phone to share the news with your best friend.

BUT substitute PARENT for any of those positions and suddenly, it's wrong.

When Nicole walked into her new kitchen with the new team, they had put up a sign welcoming her. Awesome, huh? We were all pleased with that. The new team has been wonderful and she is sooooo much happier. But, on break, when she reached for the phone to call and talk to me as she does each afternoon, she saw it. The head shaking. The couched question . . . Calling your folks again? The veiled looks.

When Caspian walks into the kitchen at the farm and the only piece of mail on the board is for him from me, he gets the same thing. When he picks up the phone and calls us to tell us about his day, people wonder why in the world he wants to talk to his (say it with disgust here) . . . . p a r e n t s.

Why??? Why is that wrong? These children are certainly not immature and overly dependent. Look where they ARE! Nicole is 2,500 miles away in Alaska, living on her own. Caspian is spending the summer in a tent doing extremely demanding work. How can examples like that be linked to immaturity because each one of them takes a minute to call us and tell us what is happening in their lives?

Society is messed up, especially when it comes to our children. We know that. A weekend spent at Life is Good unschooling conference helped me to re-connect with the loving, supportive, bonding kind of families that give me hope for the future. And just because our children are too close for other people's comfort, we couldn't imagine them being anywhere else.

Thank you for listening. Stepping off of the soap box for now.


Nomadic Nicole said...

I love reading your version of what goes on in my life, of how everything that happens to me looks through your eyes, because you are always so spot on. I find it so vindicating, especially on this.

I don't understand, either, how people can so disapprove of a close relationship between children and their parents. How many of them wish they had that bond with their parents? How many are saddened by the fact that they don't have a strong family connection? Almost everyone I talk to doesn't have it but wants it. Is it jealousy that makes them look at Caspian and me with disapproval? Because it sure looks like it, that, and hypocrisy.

More people should have what I do with my parents, what I do with my siblings. More people should be as lucky as us.

What a wonderful entry mom. I wish my crew and Caspian's could read it. :)

Aimee said...

I fully expect that my daughter and I will remain close when she is an adult and no longer living with me (though, honestly, she could live with me forever, that's fine *grin*). And I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would think that was a bad thing. I very much admire the relationships you describe having with your kids. And I agree with Nicole, more people should be so lucky!

Ami said...

I can't understand it either.

Why isn't love between family members okay?

Crazy world we live in.

Markell said...

I don't know of any older adults who are discouraged from having close and apparent (no pun intended) relationships with their parents. I think it's adolescents and newly-formed adults who want to seem independent, and whose friends want to be friends with independent people. I'm sure it will improve as your children mature. I have no doubt about it!

It's ironic that mature people are friends with their parents but people who have fully matured are friends with their parents. Just hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I think ppl do expect children to grow up and grow away from their parents. We are quite the individualistic country but one of the things I love about your family is not your not like the mainstream and how fortunate you are to be so close.