Thursday, August 19, 2004

When I Grow Up...

It's funny. In less than 13 months, I'll be turning 30. I still remember being 8 years old and thinking how grown up I'd be when I'd be 16. And now, a few weeks shy of my 29th birthday, I still in many ways feel like I'm 8.

Like at what point will I feel like an adult with my parents? Am I the only adult who is married, pays her own mortgage and yet, is still afraid of the wrath of her mother? For example, I still have not told my parents about the whole firing thing. Sweetie Pie tells me that I just need to get it over with, but it's going to be the most discouraging conversation of my life. Some of my friends have said "well, sometimes when you expect the worse, it's never as bad as you think it is." Which are encouraging words and in most cases true. Except for this one. Because I've had this conversation before when I was laid off three years ago. And here I was, freaked out, with a visa that only allowed me to work for the employer who'd just let me go, no source of income and I'd just signed a six-month lease on my apartment. Most people could use encouraging words from the parental units like "Sweetie, it will all work out." "You're a smart and talented girl." "Do you need money?" What I got instead was something along the lines of Janice in Friends. "OH........MY........GOD! HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN???? THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD! NO ONE WILL EVER WANT TO HIRE YOU NOW! HOW DID YOU GET YOURSELF IN THIS SITUATION?" Of course, imagine all of this in French without the New Yorker accent.

Exactly the kind of words someone who's lost their job needs to hear. My dad once lost his job and pretended to go to work for three days, trying to bide his time and figure out what he was going to do. I completely understand why he did it. Getting laid off or fired is a kick to the ego, no matter how well you take it. To have someone freak out on you and convince you that it's the end of the world is enough to send just about anyone over the edge.

And so instead, every night I think to myself "OOOH! Something good on TV." And I put off calling my mother another night.

Very mature I am. Sweetie Pie says that if I wait too long, my parents will end up emailing me at the office and get some weird out of office reply that says I'm gone or they'll call my voicemail at work and it will tell people that I've been shown the door. After all, that's what happened last time. The day after I got laid off, my dad happened to send me a joke email at the office and got a bounce back to contact my VP. So he called me on my cell to ask me what was going on. I told him I was laid off and he just paused and asked how I was doing. He then said those ominous words: "You know you can't keep this from your mother right? And now that I know, you have to tell her today." I know that he was terrified she'd smell the news on him like one of those airport drug sniffing dogs. There's no getting past my mother with bad news.

The part I'm most concerned about is the day before the firing, I tried to tell her about my troubles at the office and how unhappy I was. She told me that I needed to call a meeting with the president and the VP ASAP, because if I didn't, I could wind up getting fired. Hahaha! Mom, that's just silly. Oh... Whoops...

So now I have to deal with the most hated told-you-so speech. Two kicks to the ego in one week? Come on, not even the devil would deserve that!

My sisters who are 25 are no better with bad news. They haven't figured out how to escape the whole child-parent dynamics sister. My younger sister just sent an email out to the whole fam sneaking in there very casually that she will be putting off presenting her thesis for her masters by a year. The email made me laugh because this is a decision my sister and I discussed almost a month ago. When my grandmother had her stroke, my sister went a number of weekends to be there. On top of a grueling unpaid internship where she works 10-12 hour days, a waitressing job to keep food on her table and a long distance relationship with a French stud, there's just not enough hours in the nights to finish a well-thought-out thesis as well. At the end of the day, what's the big deal if she gets herself a full-time job in her industry and works on her thesis throughout the year? There are no consequences to that decision really. And yet, my sister a smart, independent woman, had to sneak the news into an email about my grandparents' state of mind in order to avoid paying a long distance telephone call that would just be spent being told how she is ruining her life.

This email probably looks like it's one big bashing of my mother. And I don't mean it to be. I love my mother very dearly and I'm grateful to have her. I just find it highly ironic that her boot camp mothering style has meant a delayed maturity when it relates to her from all three of her children.



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