Who are you and what have you done with my child?

image I led a secret life as a child, and still do. When I was little, I was two different people:

  • One person was the person I was around my friends. This person ran, he laughed, he played. He also spit, cursed, got in fights, fed his dog live lizards, shot innocent birds with his Red Ryder bee-bee gun (only once or twice), had a MASSIVE crush on a certain blonde girl in high school, drank too much beer on innumerable occasions, and did a multitude of other things he didn’t do at home.
  • The other person was the person who lived at home. This person was quiet. He spent hours by himself in his room listening to Jerry Clower records, mostly to provide background noise since it was otherwise unearthly quiet. Often, he listened with dread for the footfalls above him and he could tell when the person attached to the footsteps was heading for the stairs leading to the bottom floor where his room was. Generally, there were only two reasons for an adult to be heading down the stairs: 1) To go into the garage or 2) To come to either his room, or his brother’s; neither of which usually portended good things. Later, this person also attended church far more than any child, who isn’t enrolled in a brainwashing program, should have, which only further amplified his duality.

I’m all growns up now and overall, the two personalities from my childhood have gelled into one. I don’t really spit anymore, unless I’m out doing man things by myself in my boots and dirty jeans. I still curse on occasion and I laugh around others without fear of retribution.

But I must admit, I still can’t let go around some of my parents. My dad…not so much. My dad is but a shell of the cold, stern man that he was as I grew up. Now, he is a warm, giving person and I feel sad that, for so many years, he lived under the yoke of whatever it was that caused him to be that way.

My mothers though, that’s a different story. I was responding to an e-mail one of them sent me the other day and I was just typing along and wrote out the word “balls” but then I immediately backspaced and replaced it with “cajones.”

Who can’t say “balls” around their mom? Especially as a 35-year old man!

It’s kinda ridiculous when you think about it. Here I am, a (arguably) successful person. I have a family and responsibilities. I have held within my grubby little paws, some of the Top Secrets my country holds. I have two kids of my own, and somehow, despite all of this,  I can’t say the word “Balls” in front of my mom!

Is it just me? I mean, at what point, if ever, do you reach a point where you say, “Hey, you tried. Overall, you did a fine job, but here I am. A product of my environment AND my upbringing. If you don’t like it, then don’t come for Thanksgiving!”

I’ve been around other people while also around their parents and I’ve seen it go both ways. I’ve seen the ones who, like me, pretend that they never had sex before marriage and then I’ve seen those who could pour themselves a scotch from their dad’s liquor cabinet while sitting around with everyone watching Wheel of Fortune.

It’s just weird I tell ya. It’s even worse for spouses I think. I know that when my mom visits, CareerMom is so concerned over what my mom will think of her. And the funny thing is, I’m like, “Eh, don’t worry about it. You just be you and you’ll be fine. Don’t worry what she thinks.”

How’s that for screwed up?

So, come on. Fess up! Are you YOU around your folks?

6 thoughts on “Who are you and what have you done with my child?

  1. Certainly I am a form of myself, but totally myself? No.

    When I was becoming “myself” at home is the time right before I moved out and got my own place…
    My dad doesn’t like cursing and my mom always finds “something” to complain to be about when I am discussing things with her..

    But, I love them for who they are… they are very giving people and I love them with all my heart… however, I do tend to “change” slightly when I am around the parental units.

    RE: I think it comes down to respect doesn’t it? Like, I wouldn’t talk/act around CareerMom the way I do my guy friends at “Guy’s Night Out.” Same thing I guess. But it’s funny isn’t it? The people who should know us best, perhaps don’t.

  2. As you said, part of it is about respect. I don’t cuss much at all in my parents house. I respect the law of the land in my parentals house. I study sociology, and one common belief among the sciences is that indivduals have multiple personalitys, just as you have explained about yourself above. We have a different personality for the various social settings we are in. A different persona around our friends, our family, our parents at work, school, etc. And they are quite diverse too. We have the ability to switch from one to another instantly.

    Funny you mention a guys noght out event. When my friends are around us, sometimes I feel funny if Lilly is around because of how different I act. Considering I’ve been away from hanging with friends on a regular basis for so long. Ya know, poopy dipes and all.


    RE: An excellent response. I too have often pondered how/why I’m so different when I’m not around my wife. I wonder sometimes if she saw me at a party, being my other person, if she’d still like me. Points to ponder.

  3. Not that I am a jekell and hyde or anything, by any means,
    but sometimes I feel like I would be awesome on Survivor or something…

    I am basically a social chameleon!

    I envy Jay somewhat for keeping his blog ..well himself so “private,” in a sense, b/c he can say whatever he wants…

    If I mention anything about sex I always know my mother-in-law is reading my thoughts..

    RE: Yes, but could you be a social chameleon without many clothes? Living on the river, with mosquitoes?

  4. Hey Eric, I want to show my family all the time! But I fight the urge, because I know I would hold back a lot of what I write if they were reading it. Lilly started reading my blog only recently, and I got busted for a few things allready.

    Dude, your mother in law IS reading your thoughts. Especially considering her daughter sleeps naked right next to you…

    RE: I know I’m not Eric, but it’s my blog and I can respond if I want to :)-
    I have often thought of starting another, completely random blog, but I think that in the end, it would sound like the comedian Lewis Black, just ranting and raving with spittle coming out the side of my mouth. And somehow, I think that all that negativity would spill over into my “normal” personality and would ultimately affect it. So, I don’t do it. Would be fun though, for just a month or so.

  5. Hey Lewis Black is one of my favorite comedians. I read his book this year. With him, it’s his mannerisms and the attitude he puts into his skits that make it hilarious.

    RE: I don’t agree with his politics, but the guy cracks me up!

  6. I generally try to keep it clean around my parents…though I started lightening up a bit once I became a parent and joined the club. I still can’t drop the f-bomb around them, but I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing.

    The cold shell thing you said is very sad. I’m glad he was able to break out of it.

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