Sometimes kids find it hard to talk to their parents. Especially when it comes to telling them things, making confessions, or opening up about issues or events that might be uncomfortable. As children, we receive unconditional love from our parents. Yet sometimes that love can be tested, especially when we don’t agree on various topics. But as parents, we want our children to feel comfortable talking to us about anything.
Actually, that isn’t true. There are many, many topics that husband #1 has absolutely no interest in discussing with his children. There are also many, many questions that husband #1 has absolutely no interest in answering especially because he doesn’t know a lot of the answers. But we can go into that another time.
So we want our kids to talk to us, to trust us, but then if we don’t agree with them or don’t say what they want to hear, they get upset for talking to us in the first place! And as a kid, we want to get our parents’ approval, we want to talk to them, but then it seems that they don’t hear us, and how can a parent possibly relate to anything a young person says!
It is a vicious cycle. Kind of like banging your head against a wall.
When I was in my late teen years, there were a couple of things that I did that I knew my parents would not be happy about. So I would wait until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to tell them. My thinking was that if God could forgive me (hopefully) my parents would have to forgive me (hopefully). It usually turned out okay, because, really, at that point, what were they going to do? Sometimes the things that I confessed to had happened months before. Fortunately, I survived all of those things that I should not have done, and for some reason, I was blessed, truly blessed, with boys who didn’t really seem to do anything wrong.
I have really tried to be the kind of parent who has an open relationship with her kids. Granted, this ends up having your kids think of you as more of a friend than a parent. (My kids think of me as a crazy person, but why should they be different than most people…). Do they respect me? Possibly. Do they fear me? Not a chance. But do they hate me? Not yet… I guess there is still time. Whatever they think of me, they still know that when the time is right, to smear some chocolate on a pillow, put the pillow over my face, and let nature take its course. Hopefully they won’t do this before the time is right.
In any event, the other day son #1 told me he had to talk to me about something. As any mother of sons knows, any time one of your boys wants to talk to you, no matter what time it is, what temperature it is, where it is — you talk to them. So I was looking forward to this talk.
We are in the car, and the tone becomes serious. What could he possibly want to talk to me about? “Mom, I think I did something wrong.” As my son, the things he could have done wrong are endless. But as husband #1’s son, the list is very very short. I had no idea what was coming next. “Kid, you can tell me anything. There is nothing you could say that would make me love you any less. Ever.” “Mom, please don’t be upset, but a few months ago, I became cholov yisroael, and I think I ate something that wasn’t cholov yisroel, and I need you to help me find out.”
Cholov yisroel. My son is cholov yisroel. Where did I go wrong? Is it genetic? Is it nurture versus nature? Is there a special therapist I could send him to?
I’m kidding. Cholov yisroel, which I just found out, means that he eats only milk products that come from a cow. Not a goat or a chicken (do chickens make milk?). Only a cow. Apparently, the muffins from Costco are dairy because they have nonfat milk in them, and even though I tried to convince son #1 that the “C” in Costco stands for “cow’s milk,” he didn’t believe me. We called Costco and the poor lady who answered the phone had to walk all the way to the bakery section to read us the ingredients.
But the damage was done. No more muffins for son #1 from Costco. Fortunately, he is still talking to me, despite all of the things that I do wrong….
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck also believes that the “C” in Carvel stands for cows’ milk as well. Apparently, she is wrong about a lot of things. But she does really, really love her boys.