Posted by Womomma on 1:19 PM

My kids all have hundreds of ‘friends’ on their Facebook sites. HUNDREDS! Some of them are relatives and some are parents’ friends. Most are friends from school and summer camp and then friends of those friends. And, at times, they are friends with me.

Rosie, the eldest, blocked me in AOL’s IM from the time we got it. I chalked it up to the whole ‘separation’ challenge that every child must navigate and anyway, I could go upstairs and talk to her for the most part. When she went to college, she created an IM name for me only...I guess she was serious about me not being able to see her “status”. It infuriated me because her then 11-year-old brother had access to her status and I didn’t. Even so, at least she IM’d with me every few days and I knew she was alive. Her separation needs haven’t abated much but I’ve always tried to accept that about her.

She allowed me to be her “friend” on Facebook but I soon realized that it was a ‘limited’ thing. I was her “friend” but I had no rights. I wasn’t really her friend. She thought it was creepy that I had a Facebook account. It irked me and infuriated me a bit but then again she was always the one who shut me out and what was new about that? She was on Facebook when no one but college students were on it. Okay, I could live with it. Until….

Nola and Jack freely added me as their “friend” and seemed not to mind when friends of theirs “friended” me or vice versa (although I was careful to only do it with those were close family friends). Until….

For Rosie, suddenly one day this summer I realized that not only was I no longer a friend but I was a “blocked friend” meaning when I did a search on Rosie’s name she didn’t exist in Facebook. She had purposely and spitefully blocked me from knowing her at all on Facebook. She didn’t exist. There wasn’t even a phone number to call her and introduce myself.
The anger and shock and hurt…I can’t describe it. Raging, hurting emotions from ‘What does she not want me to know (which I wouldn’t have known anyway the way it was set up) to Why do you want to hurt me so badly’? Tears, anguish in the belly, an angry, hurtful email sent through the cybersphere to her while she was walking across Spain. I sent you to Spain to grow up and you repay this graduation present by shutting me out FURTHER? She wrote back that it was no big deal, I should cool my jets and she ‘friended” me…full status. Of course, this left me feeling guilty and ashamed.

My closest friend, HJB, who also has a college age child said that she understood Rosie’s point of view and that I needed to let it go. It’s not about me. That’s her place. And I know it’s true, I know it’s true but I can’t let it go. I’ve tried, I’m trying.

Now Nola is off to her first year of college and suddenly I am seeing things on Facebook I don’t want to see about how she is spending her time, what she is doing with her free time, who she is spending her time with. She is behaving in ways that I don’t think she should be behaving and so, knowing that I risked being excommunicated and brought up my concerns about how much drinking she’s doing AND sharing on her Facebook. We have a tense conversation and I am still her ‘friend’ for a few days and then, suddenly, Nola doesn’t exist on Facebook anymore. I’ve been excommunicated again! Restored by one and then ditched by the other. Again, it’s as if I’ve been punched in the stomach. Not invited to the party at the neighbor’s house even though everyone else on the block was.

So, here’s my question to the world: should a parent be a Facebook friend to their child in college? Should they want to? Or, as HJB tells me, ‘just trust that they will figure out the things that they need to learn, just like you did in college. AND stop looking at her Facebook!” I KNOW this. I say these things to myself actually but the fact that other people have access to my child’s site and I don’t and that I have reason to believe that they are sharing themselves with the world in ways that isn’t a good idea still bother me. If you see what your college age child has on Facebook, do you talk to them about it?

Posted by Womomma on 1:18 PM
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Yesterday Aster said, "Well, this is probably the last warm day." This said with a sense of impending doom and despair. "You said that about ten times last fall," I reminded him. "No, really," he said standing and looking at on his computer's monitor.

And indeed, today is cold and rainy. The bathroom window was cracked open and the air seeping in was icy and wet. The sky is a flat grey and the view from the back of the house extremely fore-shortened but the trees are orange, yellow and brownish orange, lightly peppered with the green evergreens which will remain through the winter.

Aster can't stand the cold and the dark of the winter. Biologically, physically, he's not made to deal with it. We learned yesterday that barometric pressure can cause migraines and he has them often and we wondered about the weather and his migraines and his misery throughout the winter and whether weather is more of a connection that we have even acknowledge.
Oops, the flat grey sky has broken and the some white fluffy clouds are suddenly moving across the sky, hints of blue and one can actually see the horizon!

Posted by Womomma on 1:16 PM

"You're Awfully Perky This Morning." (rolled eyes, annoyed face)
"You're awfully perky this morning this morning." Rose said this morning while standing in the kitchen. It wasn't a compliment.

I had just finished telling her about an article about Sarah Palin in the New York Times (she was a shy wall-flower as a child but high school basketball may have changed her life), an amazing endorsement of Barack Obama in the New York Times that I thought she should read and an interesting article about placebos in healthcare today. The sun was streaming into the kitchen, which I had neatened so that when Aster came down (after being away all week) the place would look nice. Jack was at school and Rosie had a double shift at the restaurant lined up.

Rose's long orange hair was messily (from sleep) but luxuriously bundled atop her head. Strands stuck out and hung down around her faintly freckled cheeks. Stunning. A halo of sunlight through her hair. Stunning. And yet, she was snarling at me for my early morning enthusiasm. I could hear in the silence between us that I had in fact been rattling along without taking a read from her..assuming she would share my interest and excitements. The morning was too beautiful to be upset. She's never been a morning person, neither she nor Jack nor Aster are. Nola doesn't mind. But Rose is 22, she lives at home after being at school for four years, she off to waitress for 12 hours, she just came home from seven weeks walking across Spain and here I am asking her to read some interesting articles in the New York Times. She'd rather find them herself.

Posted by Womomma on 1:14 PM

So, here I am, middle aged woman, mother and wife. I have been married for 29 years, together with said gentleman, Aster, for 33 years! We have three children: Rose, 22, Magnolia (Nola for short), aged 18 and Jack, aged 15. Rose just graduated from college, Nola just went to college and Jack is a high school sophmore.

I have done everything from working more than full time and having a more than full time nanny to working from home to very part time work and now, wanting and needing more work..both from a personal point of view but also from a financial perspective as well. I can pretty well say that I understand all the different options a woman can have in the workforce. Albeit, I have been extraordinarily lucky to have a supportive husband who has also had the good fortune and ability to let me have these options over the years. Hopefully, it has been beneficial for the family as a whole for me to have been home more than not.It's hard now though, with the economy the way it is, savings disappearing in the stock market and us getting older and wistfully thinking about our options disappearing for an early retirement.