Tuesday, July 28, 2009

lose the long face, lady

To my mother in law. And all of you muthuhs out there who complain your kids don't call or visit often enough. Stop being so damned cranky and inflexible when we do take time to visit. Like in my case, drive hours to get there in the midst of a busy summer.

Stop giving us the very loud silent treatment when we need to curttail your precious schedule because the kids have their likes and dislikes, too. You know, our children, your grandchildren, they're people. And us? Your adult children who take the time to visit? We work during the week. This is our weekend downtime. We've devoted it to easing your loneliness. Act like you appreciate that fact, just a little bit.

I know this is hard to believe, but teenagers don't particularly like sitting around your living room listening to you roll off your list of recently departed friends and loved ones. And their various health ailments. So when they don't look thrilled and would rather watch TV, understand.

I'm sorry you're in the stage of life when everybody is kicking the bucket, I really am, but kids don't want to hear about it. And neither do I, but I'm an adult who has an attention span. The kids don't. I have sympathy for an old lady. The kids don't.

And those same heavy meals you insist on cooking, despite your son's repeated suggestions that you don't have to go to so much trouble for us? But oh wait. That's right. That's the meal YOU want to eat. We're just numerous sets of mouths around the dining table doubling as a disposal for your leftovers. It's not really about us, at all, is it? It's about you.

And when we put our foot down and go out for a meal? If you won't eat with us, you can at least order something to drink. It won't kill you to drink a glass of water. In fact, your doctor tells you to drink more water, so it could prolong your life.

So quit with the pouting and the long suffering expression on your face. And quit looking at your watch and drumming your fingers on the table. You're giving us heartburn.

In short, act like you enjoy seeing us. Have some patience. Humor the kids by asking them about their friends or their summer adventures. Get out of the kitchen and get to know them. If you always make it about you, you lose them. And you're missing out on some really great kids.