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?