I remember the last time I left my home, knowing that when I came back my room would be no longer “my” room, but the “guest” room. All due respect to my Mother, she had truly been very patient at my failures to launch from the nest. She understood the reasoning behind the need to come home to a place of refuge after a college drama played out poorly. She offered her support the second time when things ended in heartbreak, and even held her tongue when I just needed some time to “figure things out.” God bless my Mom, time after time she would watch me move my stuff back and forth. Mentally stuck in the middle of a “90210” and “Heather’s” type of life with a “Say Anything” soundtrack.
My beloved Uncle Dee made a comment a few months ago about he and my Dad being professional movers about the several trips they made to come and save me from the jaws of maturity and bring me back home to land safely for awhile. I had to laugh because it was true. I am sad and embarrassed to say they made at least three, probably four of these rescue missions. Home was safe. Home was dependable. Home was something I did not have the ability to create for myself in those moments, but home was never, ever where I planned on living long term. So, when mom gently but firmly told me as we were packing my car up to set out on yet another solo flight out of the nest…that I would always have a home to come back to, just not a room, I totally understood.
Eric’s mom took the other approach, one that I can see myself making, should it warrant. She allowed six months, one-time stint. Period. During that time mind you, the vacuuming would commence at 8:00 a.m. banging suspiciously against his closed bedroom door several really hard times before roaring down the hall then making one final pass. Making sure to hit the door a few last times just for good measure. After the six months had been expired, they were expected to pay rent. I must say it worked like a charm. Neither Eric or his brother Andrew stayed there beyond their first stint. She loved them, and would always be there for them, but tough love sometimes proves to be the best firecracker under the bottom to push you out the door.
That was in the era of “Friends” however. Young twenty something’s out there, making it happen. Now they might have needed a loan floated from time to time, but they waited tables and did what had to be done to survive. Please know this — their jobs, apartments, clothes, story lines…these beautiful, stylish, pimple free peers we had and followed their lives faithfully, all pure fiction. However, it was relatable and believable to an extent. Remember Monica accidently erasing, then and re-recording the outgoing message on yummy Tom Selleck’s machine? Remember Chandler having to write Joey’s notes on the dry eraser board of their apartment so he wouldn’t miss an audition? Classic.
Why do I bring those two specific episodes up? Because they are ones of thousands of funny moments I remembered from the show when they couldn’t use a cell phone, laptop and no one in their fairy tale apartments in New York owned a PC or iPad. No face timing, texting or being easily reached no matter when or where. They had to physically be there for each other, lol! We were the generation that came right before everything became so easy. The whole wide world is now brought to you, right on your coffee table. You can look for a job, take college courses, find love, find an old classmate, shop, video chat with whomever, whenever sitting right there in your jammies on your sofa.
I belong to the “middle child” generation. We represent all of the “Jan’s” of the world that aren’t as glamorous as the Groovy Baby Booming Marsha’s or as cute as a button young and precious, totally self-absorbed, millennial Cindy’s. Nope, we are the bridge between “Free Love” and “Everyone gets a Trophy” generations. We are the Breakfast Clubbers and the Joshua Tree lovers. The smallest of the generations and often overlooked because we were born in a time of transition, growth and self-revelations. We are lower on drama, and rarely care what other’s think of us. We are the “wash -n-go” generation and still have the ability not to take ourselves too seriously and get up, get on and get over it.
I made a comment to a young thirties friend of mine the other night at a dinner party that the main reason I thought we were a bit more grounded as a generation is that we have had to adapt. I am so very proud of us! We did not go the way of the dinosaurs! We as children had none of the technologies that kids of today have. Yet as parents we are supposed to be educated enough in an area we just began to become familiar with in our early twenties to monitor and survey our children’s access to the world as a whole. We have risen to the challenge of learning to weave our experiences of playing outside and falling down, skinning our knees and cleaning the blood with spit to the narcissistic approach of the younger millennial parents. More often these are the folks who want to wrap their children in bubble wrap, spray them down with an antiseptic barrier and keep them in a box safe on a shelf.
I have become a walking, talking, shouter of old-fashion stories to my children about “back in the day” when we ONLY had three channels. You watched Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music once a year, and it was a treat. I have tried to explain to my children that the reason we force them to play outside is because outside is good for them. Yes, all the dirt, bugs, sweat and occasional blood from skinned knees…good for them. Why? Because I promise you, unless you run after I stood here and TOLD you not to run, and you trip over the uneven sidewalk and fly forward hands first and scrap the crap out of your hands…will you ever learn. I bet you do not run again. You made a mistake. I will take you in and clean you up, put medicine and a Band-Aid on it. I will make you feel safe and secure…but then eventually I am going to send you back out there into the world.
God Bless the forty something’s, The Gen Xer’s, the lost generation of probably a dying breed of people who respect and shake the hands of losers. We know how to try harder when we lose, and value when winning because we earned it, it wasn’t given to us. I cherish my mediocrity; I appreciate my memories of a less complicated time when things were not so in your face 24 seven. I know my children will never know what that is like, but I am of healthy stock. I have faith and a belief that if I raise our children like we were raised with a sense of pride in a job well done, a healthy dose of independence with a smidge of gun-hoe attitude, mixed with a fear of God and a love of Country, they will be okay out in the world. Moreover, if they need to come back for a little-broken wing time, some duck and cover, readjusting of the sails and regrouping of the plans, my door will always be open…they can stay in the guest room. 🙂 ~ Kimberly