Sunday, March 31, 2013

Repost: Invasion of the Body-Snatchers: What happened to my parents?

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.


Dec. 29, 2010

I've long been aware of the notion that even the strictest parents turn into pushover grandparents. I thought it was just a cliche, until I saw it in action for myself during Christmas weekend.

It has now become clear that the people I once knew as my parents no longer exist.

My father -- a noted neat freak, mind you -- actually uttered the following when I mentioned something about how my daughter loves to throw her toys and shoes around: "Oh, that's OK. If anybody can keep a house neat with a young child, they'll give that child a psychosis. Those kids will grow up to have serious issues when they're teenagers."

Then he laughed. Laughed! My dad suddenly finds messiness funny, instead of seeing it as a character flaw.

My head didn't actually explode, but it really felt as though time slowed to a crawl for a minute or two as I processed what had just been said and who had said it.

The next day, I spied my mother smiling and laughing as my daughter banged a spoon on a crystal glass. One of my mother's crystal glasses.

When I was a kid, my mother was so worried about me breaking valuables that she gave them a name: They were "do-not-touch" items. Stores that sold figurines and other dainty items were, naturally, do-not-touch stores.

The woman who taught me not to put my hands on things I could break apparently thinks it's delightful when her toddler granddaughter bangs out a tune on fragile crystal glasses.

I...don't understand. What in the world has happened to my parents?

Do your parents or your partner's parents let their grandchildren get away with things they'd never have permitted their own children?

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