Glawe's Outlook

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Parental ogres

Curt and I have become invisible to our kids - at least when we are out in public.

Yep, they are at that age when it is just not cool to talk to mom and dad. They can walk directly past us without giving us as as much as a glance.

I remember when our kids were babies and how I would hold them so close and talk to them - and then one day, they realized I was there and laughed at me. (Grown up, they would say it truly was a laugh at seeing such a silly lady for the first time.) I loved those first giggles because at the time I didn't really think they were laughing AT me.

And how they clung to us when we went out in public. They never wanted us out of their sight - nor us them - for fear of losing each other. (It happened a couple times with two different kids and that was two of the most frightening times we have experienced as parents.)

When they entered school, they gradually gained their independence, and that's good - except it sometime made me feel like I was not needed as much anymore.

Now at middle school- and high school-age, they believe they have way too much independence.

I sometimes take away some of that independence by making myself noticed - if they like it or not. For example, the other day, I had to run home and pick Austin up from school as his taxi driver (Jordan) had basketball practice and his larger taxi driver (dad - clarifying the taxi is larger not the driver) was unable to pick him up.

Jordan walked right past my van with a a couple of friends. I hadn't seen him for several hours so I though he must be missing me just a minute amount. I watched him walk a ways from me and then I rolled down the window and started yelling his name. Oh my gosh! Did I HAVE to do that? He did come over to the van but only for a brief couple of words and was off again. I knew he was embarrassed but it served him right for ignoring me!

Do parents turn into ogres when their children are teenagers? I don't think so, but if we do, well, I think ogres are totally overrated. The ogre in the Shrek movies is cool - I haven't gone so far as to pick my ear wax out (like in the movie) in front of my kids and their friends - but that's on my list, I'm warning them, if they continue to pass right by me too many more times without a hello! Ogres deserve a "hello" every so often.

So it is no surprise that the daily hugs (and somedays many of them) have also disappeared until I make them feel guilty and then I get an occasional hug. I know they love me, they know I love them.

I was discussing this with Julie Langner and Laurie Huss at the Alta Library not long ago. Julie said her youngest, in kindergarten, has since the beginning of the year gone from not wanting her to leave him to now not wanting her around in school. She seemed just as disappointed as I.

But Laurie, with two college students, assured us we don't need to worry. It seems when they reach the adult phase and leave home, that they somehow seem to revert back to enjoying those hugs again when they come home for visits.

So, I'll bite my tongue and wait.

* Reach the columnist at lglawe @stormlakepilottribune.com.