Posted by: GeekHiker | December 27, 2008

Just To Be Clear

Okay, I just want to be very clear about this, right from the start. I love my parents. I really do. I love The Parentage with all my little GeekHiker heart.

Okay, are we all clear on that now? Everybody understand?


Now can I admit that my parents often manage to frustrate the bloody hell out of me?

There are a couple of difficult things about coming up the see The Parentage.

One is that, because we don’t see each other all that often, I tend to be, well, grilled. Or, at the very least, “interviewed.” Lots of questions. About everything you can imagine. And then some.

After a while, it feels like I have to be “on” all the time. If Mom isn’t talking to me, Dad is. Then Dad will go out to the garage and Mom will pop up with a question from the kitchen. And so forth.

There’s never really a moment to sit down quietly read a book, or write up a blog post, or even just veg. I sit down with a book for a few minutes and I’m interrupted after only a paragraph or two.

(So where did I find the time to write this, you might be inclined to ask?) Well, I’m currently on the train to San Francisco to see The Best Friend. And trying my level best not to think about the conversation I’d had with The 29 Year Old only a few short months ago about doing this very thing.

It’s a battle I’m losing.)

Yet, I can’t really bring myself to ask them not to do it. It’s hard to say to them “geez, can I just get a little “me” time, already? Sheesh.”

Now, again, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the fact that The Parentage care about me or take an interest in my life. That’s not it at all.

Sometimes I just wish I had an hour or two to read that book. I mean, technically, I’m on vacation and all. Or at the very least I’m burning vacation time from work.

And as selfish as it is, I’d like not to be “on” for a bit.

* * *

Now, we’re all still keeping in mind my first point, right? GH loves his parental units. You’re all keeping that in mind?

I’m fairly sure I typed about this last year (I’ll have to check when I’m off the train), but the other thing that bugs me is that, before I’ve been up visiting them too long, they quickly revert to “parent” mode.

In other words, they start treating me like I’m, oh, about 13 again.

They didn’t tend to do this as much when I was seeing someone. Apparently my being in a relationship warranted more “adult” treatment from them.

But for the last couple of Christmases that I’ve been single, it doesn’t take long after my arrival for them to go back to treating me like I’m not capable of making adult decisions.

They don’t know they’re doing it. I have no idea how I would describe their behavior to them anyway so as to say “can we stop this now?

Which, all in all, makes it frustrating as hell.

* * *

There’s one other thing that bothers me when I spend time with them. To be honest, I’m rather embarrassed to admit it, in fact.

Last night, getting ready for bed, I heard them in the other room, laughing at some little incident between them. Joking about how “after 40 years of marriage” and so forth.

And I realized that, to no little degree, I was jealous. Jealous of my own parents.

Which, seriously, how sad and pathetic and, well, just a wee bit disturbing is that?

Jealous because, unless I suddenly meet someone tomorrow (or finally give in and order that mail-order bride from “the exotic orient”), and somehow manage to live with all my mental facilities intact until I’m 75, that’s not something I’m going to get to experience.

Not that everyone does. I know full well the relative rarity of their 40 year marriage in this day and age.

Still, even though they’re my parents, it’s hard sometimes not to feel like a single guy trying to hang out with the proverbial “cute couple.” Hard sometimes not to feel like a 35-year-old third wheel.

I guess my only saving grace is that I don’t live in the basement with a picture of Captain Kirk on the wall.



  1. It’s because they don’t see you that often so they have to cram all their questions into a few days that you’re with them. I know it’s annoying, but hey, at least you don’t live with them so shut it, lol. I have to put up with that ALL the time.

  2. My parents took my just-flunked-out-of-college brother on his pre-graduation trip to The Bahamas. Yeah, it is possible to be jealous of your family.

    Oh, and I’m telling your parents that you hate them because, clearly, that’s the message you were trying to convey in this post. *wink*

  3. Yup, just be thankful you don’t live with them, my dear.

    Because then? The ‘treating you like a 13 year old’ would happen MUCH more often.

    Count your blessings and enjoy the time you do spend with them. I’m actually looking forward to getting out of their house (hopefully relatively soon!) so I can have a normal relationship them again.

    Oh, and I hear you on the 40 year marriage thing. I’m not in any position to be anticipating such a momentous anniversary, either.

  4. It’s a weird parent thing that they do and usually fairly unconciously. I generally remind the mom and step that I’m ‘all growed up and pay bills” 😀

    Hope you had fun with the BF and Co.

  5. You and your parents don’t see each other anymore so they want to interact. I think that’s wonderful. Enjoy these times now that you’ve finally made the transition from kid mode into friend mode as adults. Maybe save your “me time” for when you’re home alone on a regular old weekend.

  6. Well… I can relate to being annoyed by the family, although I am still in the happy stage of loving having them all over the place and sad that pretty soon, it will be my mom and I and then I’ll be gone and back in LA with no family. As far as jealousy goes, I am jealous that you have parents still together after 40 years. That’s awesome!

  7. A couple of “parenting” skills I find invaluable:

    (i) Go on the offensive. Before mom can ask you a question about your life, ask her something about hers. Or someone else in the family. Or anything really. Just get her talking about stuff that is not you. Dad is harder to deal with but I’ve found that politics, religion and gossip will set my dad off big time.

    (ii) Start acting like their parent. “Mom you really shouldn’t be doing that” or “Dad, I really think you should consider this”. They’ll figure it out. One day you really will have to be the “grown up” and that will be heartbreaking. Furthermore, I can’t believe your parents still like each other after 40 years. Go congratulate them okay? My parents barely speak to each other and, when they do, their conversations are filled with animosity and contempt and hostility. It’s truly lovely.

  8. a) Of course your parents drive you crazy!!! Well, not crazy but YOU KNOW!!! And much more, OF COURSE you LOVE THEM!!
    *pats your back* You are normal. Welcome.

    b) I understand about the ‘drilling’. Reason #1 I avoid all types of family reunions, I HATE THEM. Questions about my personal life from relatives and their friends make me want to kill people dead.

    c) It is pathetic, sad and maybe a little disturbing but, you are not the only human being that’s felt that way. I just realized after typing it that, that doesn’t make it better in any way, but at least you don’t have to feel THAT weird, I guess…

  9. Better overly interested parents than overly disinterested ones.

    You and your family’s interactions sound pretty normal … and your reaction to them is as expected.

  10. Wendy – I’d thought of that, but I’ve noticed that the quantity of questioning actually increases over time! But, yes’m, consider it shut.

    TheCoconutDiaries – Would your parents like to take me to the Bahamas too?

    EastCoastTeacher – Well, true, I won’t argue that. And, yes, I do enjoy the time I spend with them. Mostly. 😉

    Just A Girl – Hmmm, I should remind them of that!

    Charlotte – But, see, that’s the problem. So long as I’m single, the transition doesn’t seem to fully take place!

    Aly – Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the forty years. Though it does make it difficult to share divorce stories with my friends!

    Mrs. Chuck Bartowski – 1) That would be a good idea, but I’ve learned my Mom is fully capable of over-share! 2) I do congratulate them, but that’s what makes me jealous!

    Narami – a) Thanks. 2) Not much I can do about it. 3) Thanks… I think…

    Homer-Dog – Yeah, admittedly, the alternative is worse…

  11. Oh, god, I have done the EXACT same thing, only I didn’t know anyone else did it too; I feel so much less alone! The whole years of marriage thing: “Wow, 35 years, congratu-freaking-lations. If I meet someone and marry them tomorrow, I won’t make it that long. Nice.” Thank you for syaing that-I thought I was going nuts. I am NOT jealous of either one of MY parents, though-my mom hasn’t made it 20 years between 7 husbands, and my dad? well. he is just old.

  12. I’m not sure if I told you how much I like the new layout. Well, I like the new layout.

    Anyway, parents will be parents. I don’t get the grilling because I talk to my Mom every day, several times a day. This may or may not be the best option for you.

  13. grrrrr, i love my parents to death, but there are SO MANY things that piss me off about them! The happiness of seeing each other lasts for about a day every time I come home, and then we inevitably fight about something stupid. I think it’s just a parents thing.

    As for being jealous of your parents, I wouldn’t feel too self-conscious about it! It’s like being jealous of any older couple who have obviously been together for decades. It’s inspiring to watch and hard not to want for yourself. I’d feel the same twisted sick jealousy, too.

    And 35’s not too old for a sugar daddy 🙂 40’s a bit gross (for me); even browsing around on the site, I was only looking at profiles of men in their 30s. Let me know when you start make millions 🙂

    Happy new year!!

  14. Um, living in the basement with a pic of Captain Kirk on the wall doesn’t sound too bad to me actually.

    I found your blog from charming-but-single’s blog, I really liked your thoughtful comment. And now that I’m reading your blog, I’m really enjoying your writing style.

    It’s a peeve of mine too when I’m interrupted while reading. I once heard an analogy where reading is so intimate and so encompassing that interrupting someone in the middle is like barging in on someone having sex. It’s true!

    I am like you in that I need a lot of “down” time too.

    BTW don’t feel bad about being single. I know a lot of people who are married but having the same issues with loneliness, where-will-i-be worries of the future, wondering is (insert anyone) happier than me, etc.

    Maybe it’s indicative of human nature, to a. think the grass is greener on the other side, b. strive for better, and/or c. constantly reflect on our state. But you’re not alone.

    Thanks for the honest post. Going to go check out the rest of your blog.

  15. ps. You’re a K Chronicles fan! I LOVE Keef. He’s awesome, so nice to see his link on your page.

  16. Kori – Yeah, probably more of us on the same page than we know.

    Dingo – Thanks… too bad it goes away after the New Years! Ummm… probably not… LOL

    Seine – Yeah, at least we don’t fight. I like the way you think of the jealousy, seems healthier somehow. I will try to make millions asap! 

    Spleeness – Welcome! Well, I’m getting even less sex than reading, sooo… lol. And, yeah, being single is a bummer; at least being in a relationship would be a change!

    Spleeness – And I met him too! He’s darn tall…

  17. my parents are all lovey-dovey after 35 or so years and i used to let that put a certain pressure on me. now that i’m going through a divorce i realized that i’m so happy that it works for them but i can’t let it make me feel bad or guilty. dude, your time will come and it will be better than forcing something and having unattainable expectations. hugs 🙂

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