In the spirit of semper avanti, always moving forward, this week’s blog is taking a break from the constant of care giving. Parental advice in my morning paper over coffee gave six tips for “How To Get Along With Your New Grad”. Having one recent grad and another one on the way, I had to read this if for no other reason than to determine how well I was doing so far.
The first tip: Accept that while you have lots of influence, you don’t have control. Hmm. Reflecting back on four-year-old Ben defiantly proclaiming, “You’re not the boss of me!” I am not sure I ever had control. Next?
Engage with your kids as equals. In a way, I always engaged with my kids as equals, and that did not always make for good parenting. I never quite got why my Spockian logic did not resonate with my ten and eight year old. I made perfect sense to me but they were being so childish! I think I actually said to two-year old Julia one time, “Stop acting like such a baby.”
Tip three: Tell them how much you like their apartment, even if you don’t. Well, in Ben’s case I very smartly stay at least fifty feet away from the house he shares with five other male college students so that I spare us both my reaction. Based on his description of the place, I think I’d need shots anyway. Julia’s apartment looks like entry level Pottery Barn, so what’s not to love?. And it’s clean. Besides, who am I to talk? My first apartment in college had peeling linoleum in the bathroom, a four-foot diameter hole in the center of the kitchen floor and a huge water stain on the living room ceiling.
Tip four: If you help out financially, do it because you want to. Then never mention it again. Aside from reminding each freshman child that we were not helping them fund a four year frat party and making a few cracks about drinking night Uber fares showing up on our Visa card, I am going to give us pretty good marks here.
Tip five: You don’t have to love our boyfriends or girlfriends, but try to figure out why we do. I remember this. While I was in New York listening to “He’s Italian! He’s Catholic! He’s shorter than you!” Bob was in New Jersey getting “She’s not Italian! She’s not Catholic! She’s taller than you!” Eventually both sets of parents grew to love us and realize what we saw in each other, so advice dutifully noted.
Tip six: Drink a glass of wine together. I’m on it! Whenever she visits, Julia and I make cosmos with the monogrammed shaker she bought me. And that photo below? That’s Ben getting ready to sample a flight of pilsners with me at World of Beers for some much needed mother-son bonding.