I went to a play in which the young protagonist was expressing her angst that in spite of having come so far since leaving her parents home, she was trapped in the strange phenomenon of being her child-self when she visited her mother. There was one great line to the effect that “Our therapy isn’t valid in our parents world”.
No matter what we have learned about ourselves or how we’ve learned to be ourselves; when we enter the realm of parent/child relationships everything goes out the window. I can view this from two sides now. I wonder if I reduce my children to whimpering balls of mush by a single statement. Do they quiver in dread of my “Mom” attitudes? Do they consider me stuck in my past views of life?
I clearly remember discovering that it was useless to discuss some issues with my father. (I already knew that such tactics would never work with my Mom.) I practiced my stance. I was assertive, not aggressive. I approached the subject in my best non-confrontational way. And I blew my father out of the water. As I looked into his face and recognized his confusion and hurt, I knew that any issues I had were my own to deal with. They were not up for discussion with him.
Generational lines are not defined by age. They are defined by current culture…what we absorb and inculcate into our lives that our parents can’t even recognize. Our language changes with the transformation of our lives. Our truths do not reach out to our parents. Instead, they place them firmly on the far side of an ocean of experience that they will never have.
It’s okay. Once we know the rules, we can play any game, right?
As a parent, I think my only chance is to stay continually current. I can’t set my opinions by past information. And I don’t know if it is possible to shift paradigms on such a gigantic scale.
So I hope I can “take” it when my children need to discuss something with me. I know that they are moving in a world so different from mine that I may not be able to grasp it all. Sometimes I need a translator.
But we are on the same planet, even if it seems like parallel universes sometimes. I don’t want them to be children again. I value who they have become. I just hope that I can always see them as people and that they recognize me as the same.