People always seem to want to criticize today’s parents for “living vicariously” through their children, but sometimes, perfectly innocent parents are thrust into that role through absolutely no fault of their own. Sometimes, the real culprit is actually their child…
When our daughter was home from college recently she uploaded (or is it downloaded? I literally have no idea) her Instagram account onto my iPad. I’m not 100% sure why she did this, but I can speculate. I’m betting it’s not because her eyesight is failing and she can’t see her friends’ pictures without the benefit of a larger screen; I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that her phone was dead and my iPad was the only device that was charged-up at the moment, so she simply helped herself. After she performed this download/upload task, she cyber-socialized a bit and then drove herself back to the university and the Mansion where she lives down there; they call it “The House.” That was on a Sunday afternoon.
Things were quiet for a few days. (For those of you not blessed with college students, these kids are super dedicated to their studies, and your investment, 3 days out of 7, so there’s not a lot of traffic on the social interstate Monday – Wednesday.) It was a few days later, the following Thursday night, when I was lying in my ibed reading my ibook, minding my ibusiness, when all Hell broke loose. “Notifications” start dinging away across the top of my screen, as though The Transylvanian Orchestra had set up right there inside my ipad to play me my own personal lullaby. I fell asleep long before I had a chance to become annoyed, but it appears as though the dinging continued merrily throughout the night.
The next morning was a little like waking up to that first snowfall of the season. When I poured my coffee and attempted to check my email, my screen saver had been blanketed overnight with a flurry of “LIKES.” Around 300! I didn’t even know what I had done, much less who I had done it with, or more importantly, how I looked doing it. But, what I did know, was that my daughter, Gracie was buried somewhere under this avalanche of social validation…
I waited a very polite 5 hours before I texted her. (We have different time schedules.) When I asked her about it, SHE actually had the audacity to fuss at ME.
“Whatever you do, Mom, DO NOT HIT THE “LIKE” BUTTON ON THOSE PICTURES! You have no idea how Instagram even works! You’ve actually done that before, and since that’s MY account on your IPad, it’d be the equivalent to Me liking my own pictures! I’m really not trying to hurt your feelings, but it’d probably be best if you just steered clear of my Instagram account for now.”
That was on Friday morning.
That night, around the same time, maybe a tad later, the same thing happened. It seemed as though I was just as popular as I was the night before, with even more people dinging my praises! Ever curious, I couldn’t help myself, I closed out my book app and tapped on that camera-looking-thingy, devoting the rest of the evening to “steering” my way around her Instagram. I’m a firm believer in, “learning by doing,” “trial and error,” and, if all else fails, I’m not above a short YouTube tutorial.
Jimmy and I had such an entertaining weekend getting to know our daughter’s friends over Instagram. It was like Parents Weekend, without all the unnecessary travel and costly hotel and restaurant charges.
And those kids had the cutest names! They reminded me of those old CB Handles from the 1970s.
They were semi-incognito – like “maddieboddie.” Pretty sure that’s my niece. Hey Madeline – Aunt Sessie loves you!
“Imbringingsexyjack!” He’s bringing clever back is what he’s doing.
What about, “thrillyjilly?” I bet that gal can really bring the party.
I had a CB name when I was a kid – it was “Brillo Pad!” I’ll give you one guess why…
With Jimmy’s demanding career and our family being as large as it is, he really relies on me to keep tabs on all of our children. (That’s one of the reasons I’m so keen on updating my social media skills. It’s imperative that I stay sharp and current.) This morning, he asked me if I’d heard anything from Gracie yet this weekend, I answered, “Not so far, but I can show you a cute picture of her from last night on Instagram!”
Just as he reached out for my ipad, I started to admonish him, “Don’t touch the screen…” But it was too late. A red heart emoticon popped up right over the fluffy blonde head of “bythegracieofgod.”
As you might imagine, she got an immediate notification on her smart phone that the good folks back home had not just liked her own picture on HER OWN INSTAGRAM account, But, actually maybe even just LOVED IT! She’s none too pleased and mentioned deleting her Instagram account off my IPad as first order of business when she gets home next week for Spring Break.
Problem is, Daddy and I are so enamored with Instagram now, that I’m going to be forced to revive my old CB HANDLE and start my own Instagram account…
“brillopad” didn’t just LIKE your picture, she freaking LOVED it!
That’s a big 10-4 Good Buddy!
Checkout this video on YouTube:
Remember those compromising videos that you allowed people to take of you when you were younger?
Videos you would be mortified today, for your friends to watch…
You know the ones I’m talking about…
There’s a video of that nature floating around this house somewhere, that caused me to flinch in embarrassment every time I was forced to watch it.
It’s the video of my first few hours of motherhood. The cameras were rolling 24/7 the day Emilie was born. An hour or so after my firstborn was conceived, My parents couldn’t beat a path to Best Buy fast enough to purchase a large and cumbersome Panasonic Video Camera. They diligently toted this contraption around for many years documenting every moment of Emilie’s life, beginning with the day she was born. (Regrettably, these videos didn’t disappear in 10 seconds like today’s Snap Chat. Our generation had to wait years for VCRs to become obsolete and erase the evidence of our youthful folly.)
There are several unsettling things about this video, starting with the fact that I exhibit the composure and maturity of a 12 year old. The most cringe-worthy scene is when my Mom picks up one of those pacifiers that the hospital provides and coaxes it into Emilie’s tiny little rosebud mouth. The camera pans to me, as I screech and lunge off the hospital bed announcing with plucky self-import:
First-Time-Mom: “Don’t put that thing in her mouth! We certainly aren’t going to be starting anything like that!”
First-Time-Grandma: (tossing pacifier aside and dragging out her syllables) “Ooookie-Doookie!”
It’s painfully obvious that I had done my research and knew everything about the “shoulds” and the “shouldn’ts” of parenting my newborn. Apparently, I bought into some crap I’d read about “Self-Soothing.” (If self-soothing was really a thing, therapists and Ambien wouldn’t be thriving like they are today.) But, it’s good to know I had a rigid Maternal Compass that first day.
Fast-forward a few years later, and a few years after that, and a few years after that and a few years after that. Ironically, there’s no footage of me in FULL BLOOM as a mother, largely because no one cared to film it anymore. But, if there had been, it would’ve depicted me attempting in vain to coerce all 4 of my subsequent offspring to suck a pacifier. I tried every trick in the book from brushing the nipple gently around the baby’s lips to dipping the damn thing in Karo syrup, to dredging the Karo in granulated sugar (like I was rimming a martini glass, instead of a plastic nipple). All of my efforts were in vain, as not one of my belligerent and willful children ever took a pacifier despite my efforts. Karma had the last laugh. They say she is quite the Bitch.
I’m not exactly sure when I did an about-face, cashing in my high standards for peace, sanity and convenience, but it was definitely chameleon-esque. Someone managed to snap a picture of me sharing my Margarita with Baby Emilie at a Mexican Food restaurant a few months before her first birthday. (She was teething and I thought something icy and numbing on her gums would help, or possibly a little Baby-Buzz would knock the horns off?)
The important lesson here, of course, is that the woman who managed to raise YOU, undoubtedly knows more than anything you’ll ever read in a book. I’m glad we got this all sorted out before my kids have kids and I’m a Grandma. In fact, the more I think about it, the word “Karma” sounds remarkably a lot like the word “Grandma.”
Maybe I’ll have my grandchildren call me that….