"Oh your kid went to my kids' school? I bet they know each other!"

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CrazyinVA, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Do you ever have those moments when you run into someone whose kids went to your kids' school, and the name games begin?

    "Oh, you live in SuburbanArea? I do too. My kids went to RedneckSuburbanHighSchool. Yours did too? I bet they know each other. My son's name is JoeFootballStar. What's your daughter's name?"

    At which time I cringe a little inside, knowing that if JoeFootballStar does remember my daughter, it's going to be as she was then (permiscuous girl who skipped school a lot and ended up leaving before senior year amidst all sorts of rumors). For purposes of this example (and the conversation that just came up), I mean my Youngest.

    Sometimes, because of my tendency towards "gallows humor," I'm tempted to make jokes: "umm yeah, he probably remembers her, but don't hold that against her." Not nice, and my daughter would be hurt. Sometimes, I want to be too honest "yeah, he probably remembers her. She had some trouble in high school, but is doing wonderfully now." Mostly, I just give her name in return, say I'll ask if she remembers that person's son, and leave it at that.

    And then the conversations about "where are they now" begin, and of course JoeFootballStar went to college, and is on the Dean's list, and expects to graduate and get a SuperResponsibleJobMakingGreatMoney.

    OK, that last part can be a bit of an exaggeration.

    It's not that I'm ashamed of my daughter. I'm really proud of how far she's come since high school. And I really don't necessarily *care* what people think or what their kids might say to them about my daughter. It's just.... uncomfortable.

    I'm not upset about it, I just find it interesting, the feelings that can be stirred up over what is really a perfectly normal conversation between two "parents emeritus." But when you're a parent of an difficult child, it takes on a different dimension. Does that make sense? Maybe one day this won't phase me in the least, but right now, it's just... an odd feeling.
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My situations are a bit different because most folks around here who know me know Rob and what we went through.

    I've been dating various men and that's where it comes up for me. Their kids are wonderful and they are close and they have perfect grandchildren and have had a lovely life. Sometimes I've found that to be their initial story but it's somewhat different as I get to know them better. Sometimes it really is the life they've lived.

    I guess it goes without saying that I'm more comfortable when I meet folks who haven't had the picture perfect life because if they have, they have little understanding of what I've been through as a spouse or parent.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    CinVA...I get what you go through quite often. Well...often enough...lol. It bothers me more if Cory is doing badly...like if someone came along right now I would have more trouble dealing with it than if they had come along last week. Its real hard for me to hear...oh yeah...John is up at Duke and is getting his Masters but he should be home for Thanksgiving with his wife and 2 kids. How are your boys doing?

    Oh, well Billy is still living here working part time and Jamie is being a pain in my butt but he is working as an ACO and has a wife and 2 kids now, and Cory...well he is still Cory...3 time felon and in jail now. But he has a precious little girl who is the light of my life so he really was worth it!
  4. DenitaS

    DenitaS New Member

    I feel like that every time someone asks about my girls! I mean, what do you really say??? Oh, they are great? Um, they are crazy? Um, I'm not sure how they are doing because they refuse to speak with me? I would LOVE an appropriate answer to THIS question.
    I guess I could lie and say they are doing great and yours? :tongue:
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    dENITA, That is what I say. Boundaires Boundaires. Luckily I have palces I amtotally honest. It is painful. I do have my iother child who is very high acheving. I do also try to look and be grateful for any psitves/strengths. Like, I could sy, she is great at picking out the cuest puppies (true!!!!)! Compassion
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thank goodness most everyone doesn't remember M. He didn't have a lot of friends, and the ones that he did have were very like him, so it's no big deal. He didn't go to the neighborhood mega high school, but a small Catholic HS, so that narrows the chances, too.

    But, UGH! Do I ever know what you mean when they ask. Where is my rock to climb under?
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This is a hard one. I agree with Compassion about maintaining boundaries when deciding what and how much to tell people about what our difficult children are up to these days, especially when there are comparisons to be made with their PCs.

    Like Suz, most of the people who know me also know my difficult child. In many cases, they participated in neighbourhood searches when he ran away, dealt with the police when they were called, etc.

    The other kids his age in the neighbourhood are all getting through university, taking jobs, and growing up nicely, but no one expected that from difficult child. Honestly, I think they were expecting that he'd live at home with us forever, so they seem almost impressed that he's managed to move out at all, regardless of where he's living.

    What I find more difficult is when difficult child is back home for a visit. His behaviour is still so "off", even with all the progress he's made, and he tends to regress when he's here, so I (and, I think, the neighbours) worry that we will have more incidents like we used to.
  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I am frequently asked about difficult child, usually by the parents of kids who are in college, who know the troubles we had, and difficult child had. I embellish, as I'm sure they do. I am quick to point out my easy child kids are good students, because-and I know it's not right- I want other people to think difficult child's problems weren't because I was a bad parent. Meanwhile, the other 2 are far from perfect. Why do I care what some stranger thinks? I know it's none of their business, but in casual conversation I say it's all good. The people who need to know difficult child's business, they know.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I struggle with this lot. It is the conflict between "was is" and "what should have been". It is incredibly painful to be confronted with the loss of the dream, especially if it happens over and over again. I have a very hard time looking at my children's futures (except Piglet). Of the 14 adult grandchildren in our family (I'm one), 13 went to college and all did at least 1 year of grad school. We did have two difficult children but one is now very successful in his career and married; the other still struggles but is young and her dad doesn't talk about her much.

    I know it is going to hurt like the dickens when all my nieces and nephews are trying to decide between Major State University and Ivy League College and mine are doing...what? I can't even picture it.

    I know that person was just trying to make a connection with you, but it is awkward.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I have to laugh.....OMG I have to laugh. First of all whenever I have run into any of the JOEYOURSONISSOFANTASTICIBETHEISTHEMESSIAH's mother and YOUARETHEVIRGINMARYHOWISYOURHUSBANDJOSEPH? I just smile because nothing.....NOTHING is ever as it seems, and if it is and they are bragging and bragging like that and then say SOooooooooo how is your CARJACKINGBROUGHTAKNIFETOSCHOOLIBETHTHISISTHEKIDTHATGOTKICKEDOUTOFTENTHGRADE
    she really didn't know you at all - so you can tell her anything you want. I teeter somewhere between saying "My son actually went to private school." and well technically Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a private school and "Oh well he's gone on to bigger and better things oops is that my phone ringing? HEllo? the house is what? You THINK it's on fire? Excuse me while I catch this call." and then drive away. But most times I just say "You know My son had a lot of invisible disabilities to overcome that most of his classmates never knew about and I really have never used graduation as a measure of his ability to become a good person - some roses take longer to bud and he's just one of those late bloomers." and have left it at that with most of the Mother Mary's I've met speaking about their children. I mean I'm happy for them and wouldn't take a single thing away from those childrens achievements - but 9 times out of 10 when you're approached like that it's tongue in cheek.

    One woman that did that to us not to long ago to be malicious? Was standing there with me and DF. She ran up to us like we were long lost neighbors. Promise - If I had never seen her again it would have been too soon. She was the neighborhood gossip when we left our old neighborhood 10 years ago and quite enjoyed telling MY 'supposed' business to all the other married Moms and Dads because I was not and Dude's Dad wasn't in the picture. (as if) So there we were and here she came as if - and in this voice I'm sure only DOGS could discern starts off by telling us about her sons accomplishments and how big he was and what college he was going to and the car he got for graduation and how they were out buying stuff for his dorm...and then she turned to me and snidely said "I'm surprised you two are still together -what's it been seven years? And how is Dude? Did he ever graduate? I didn't see him in any of the year books, is he still getting into trouble and being bad, and causing problems? OH Wasn't he just the worst little boy ever? hahha" and I said - "No he actually overcame a lot of things in his life and wasn't supposed to graduate until this year. But we've been together almost eleven years..(silent pause) and then as if I were possessed....I said I'm sorry that you and your husband broke up." and she chortled and said tossing her hair "OH we're not broken up" and I looked at DF and he at me and I raised my eyebrows and then I said "Oh I'm sorry I never knew you two had an open marriage...my mistake..we see him out all the time with other women, we just naturally assumed...sorry - your secret is safe with us." and the look on her face was PRICELESS. Then I said - "Oh not .....an open marriage? Are you swingers?" and with that she walked away. And I yelled out "Isn't he just the worst little boy EVER?" but I didn't laugh.

    I'm guessing I won't get a Christmas card from her. :tongue: Thank goodness. Witch. And yes - her husband is a known manhoore. She just figured no one ever saw it. But delighted for years in rubbing YOUR nose in misery.

    So yeah - tell them to go eat cake....
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  12. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oooh Star that is priceless :) The conversation that prompted this post was with a woman who I'd just met from my area, so nothing like that.. but.. I do know some people like the one you mention and the temptation to "out" them... ahhhh.

    I did want to say that this comment of JJJ's really struck me:

    I never thought of this way, but I think you've hit the nail on the head. I occasionally get pangs of regret about the life my kids *didn't* have ... the goals you're *supposed* to aspire to for your kids (graduation, college, the "normal" progression, etc). All in all I am proud of how far they've come since their school days, but the fact I never attended a graduation ceremony, or went with them to visit colleges let alone decorate a dorm room, sometimes hurts, especially when my friends are doing those things with their children. But, such is life. I can't change it. And if I'm hurting over it, I know they are both hurting even more.

    Thanks for sharing the stories, everyone.. it always helps to know others are out there going through the same thing.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Crazy -

    One thing therapy really did help me overcome the death of "my" dreams were in understanding the reality of a few things we did in an exercise. The outcome was really a realization of just how much of myself I had overshadowed Dude without knowing or really realizing it, disguised as I'm just trying to help you.

    We were to both take a piece of paper and write out what our dreams were for Dudes future. I could write them from the time I knew I was pregnant and dreaming about his birth to present day. Dude could write them from his first memory to present day. The next therapy session we were to compare our dreams for Dude. I figured there would be so many similarities. I wanted him to be healthy, happy, maybe play baseball or football, do good in school, I could see him having lots of friends, going to prom, getting a girlfriend, playing guitar, having a temporary permit, getting a car, maybe eventually riding Motocross or something fun, camping out- learning to dive or water ski.

    NOTHING and I mean NOTHING on my list was anything that he had on his list. His list had things like - Riding BMX professionally like Dave Margera, Graduating school, getting a job, getting a pickup truck, a dog -

    The lesson taught me that the things I was pushing him for were things I wanted. Not things he wanted - and if I wanted a happier kid? I needed to help him achieve HIS dreams - not mine. If I kept pushing him towards MY dreams? When did he get to have HIS life? I had my life....I did the things I wanted to do-when did he get to do the things HE wanted to do?

    Since the exercise? I've tried to help him achieve some of his goals....and the odder thing still is that the things that I used to cry over - like the death of my dreams - aren't so hurtful anymore. In a way maybe because now I know they were things I wanted - not things HE wanted. If they had been things he wanted - then we still had time to work on them together. I mean if we had both written play little league and he's 19? Well - that's kinda shot - but what about assistant coach or helper?

    There are still twinges of things that I had HOPED for him - I mean who in the world ever goes through 9 months of pregnancy, 22 hours of labor, gives birth and then says "Wow I hope you're an alcoholic, and a drug addict and beat women, never hold down a job and live on the street begging for nickles?" - no Mother. So we all have hopes - but what I learned it that it takes no more than being a Mom to step aside and say "And What would YOU like to be? I'll support that." and be okay with it within herself and with anyone that comes along and says SO how is your son doing?" and answer them honestly and say something like 'He has a disability and he struggles, but I have faith in him - and as a Mom I always have hope." What's wrong with answering someone like that?

    And if that fails you can always say "Oh gosh is that my phone? Hello The what is on what? On fire? Oh have to go -" :tongue:
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    been there done that. I must admit that I shift the emphasis to the easy child's. It's easier. DDD
  15. DenitaS

    DenitaS New Member

    To be honest, with the last few weeks that I have had if someone asked me today I may just answer with "Well difficult child 1 is in jail pending three forgery charges and difficult child 2 is currently in a crisis center and will more then likely be transferred to a group home after that" JUST FOR THE SHEER SHOCK VALUE OF IT! I guess I have a sick sense of humor and just need to share it sometimes! :surprise:
  16. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hey Denita,
    I seem to respond the same as you--I get a perverse kick out of shocking people--I just state the truth very matter of factly and don't "own" my difficult child's behavior. I figure I have nothing to be ashamed of. I don't get the chance so much anymore now that she is grown up and lives far away but I got plenty of opportunities when she was in middle school and high school!