“Mom, what type of cheese do I like on my sandwich” is a running joke in our family. It refers to a time years ago when my oldest son was ordering a sandwich in a restaurant. The waitress asked him what type of cheese he wanted on his sandwich and it was like she had asked him a complex nuclear physics question. He had no idea (as I always made his lunch) and looked at me pleadingly and asked me the question. “What kind of cheese do I like? “Swiss, Cheddar, American? “Do I like ham or turkey”? Since then the tale has grown bigger and bigger and will probably be told until the end of time.
Both my boys are now grown and in college. My work has been done, the foundation has been laid and now they are adults in the world. My job for 18 plus years was nurturing them, grooming them, developing them, instilling values and from my point of view I did my best to set them up to go off into the world.
They will leave home and I will sail off into the sunset. …Aaahh.
I feel a jolt and wake up from my sunset fantasy as my phone rings and the texts start rolling in.
How do you put the quarters into the washing machine? Why isn’t it working? Look at this picture I sent and tell me what you think.
Does this rash look weird?
What is our HBO password, Netflix, Verizon? Did you change it? It’s not working…
What time is my flight and when should I leave for the airport?
I have a flat tire. What do I do? Wait call AAA? Send me a picture of my card.
What do you think of these shoes? Which ones should I buy?
I am sick. What should I take? A series of pictures roll in. Should I buy this one or that one?
At one point, my son was so sick at school that I starting rattling off all these different medications to buy at the drug store. “Just write it all down and text to me” was his response. I started writing and sent a lengthy document, I am sure he never read because when he got to the drug store he just started texting me again. As a side note, I almost started a business selling medical kits with instructions to college students after going through the exercise.
Typically these texts roll in with urgency and I drop everything, wherever I may be and start responding.
WAIT. STOP. WHAT IS HAPPENING?
I often wonder. Have we coddled our children too much or is it changing technology that has created this situation? Has it become so easy to text, that our children have stopped problem solving and keeping track of things because they know we will always be their backup?
I have a love hate relationship with the whole situation. I tend to react immediately, drop everything I am doing and start to feel pressure of the solving the problem. Not good. On the other hand, I like to feel needed. They are still my babies. They need me. Ok, I will respond. I enjoy the connection and want it to last forever.
This is my take on it all. After sharing stories with others it appears what I am describing is typical behavior. The kids admit to it and the parents seem to have the same experiences. Rather than fight it at this point I look at it as the new way of life. At first I thought maybe I had done something wrong. My plan teach my kids to be self-sufficient backfired. Then as I told stories to my friends it seemed they had the same stories. Even blogs have been started by “millennials” discussing this behavior in a comical and “here to stay” way. Just check out this link to see how the joke is on us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVPUnh8weKU&sns=em
What will become of this new generation? I have a few other thoughts but I will have to get back to them later. I just got a text from my son.