I am a 50-year-old mother of three beautiful boys. However, I am having a problem with the oldest son, "John," who is a senior in college a few hours from home. Recently, John has stopped answering many of my phone calls.
On occasion, I will send a text message saying, "Please call me," and I still end up having to call him a few hours later. John usually claims that he was studying and couldn't pick up or that he was too busy to call me back. Sometimes I ask his younger brothers to call him, as John is more likely to pick up for them. When we do talk, John always wants to end the conversation before I have finished speaking with him. He says that I call him too often.
I feel that as I am paying for his education, a daily phone call isn't too much to ask. (I get worried if I haven't heard from him recently.) How can I get him to keep in touch?
Dear E.T.'s Mom,
You aren't actually having a problem with John, but he's having one with you. Your boy is a man, and that means he needs to pull away from his hovering mother, even if his mother imagines that he's bleeding in a ravine, calling her name, if she hasn't heard from him for 24 hours. Think of what your daily conversations must consist of: you asking whether he ate a good breakfast and had a bowel movement; you nattering about the cute things his brothers "Billy" and "Tommy" did. He doesn't want to hear it!
Sure, you can hold tuition payments over his head or manipulate his brothers to get him on the phone, but these techniques will only make him resent you and dread your conversations even more. Also remember that he is from a generation for which even a brief phone call seems like an endless drag—and, no, I'm not advocating you up your texting.
It is reasonable for you to hear from him regularly, so try instituting a short weekly phone call, maybe on Sunday evening, that lasts 10 minutes. That will let your son know you trust him and respect his independence; and that when you do talk, he won't have to listen to you babble or pepper him with questions.
If less-than-daily contact makes you too anxious, train yourself to do something else when you get the urge to dial: walk the dog, bake bread, learn the flugelhorn. That way, in 10 years your daughter-in-law won't be writing a letter that begins, "My mother-in-law is a lovely but intrusive woman who calls constantly, and my husband makes me talk to her because the sound of her voice drives him batty."
OMG: "...learn the flugelhorn!" LOL!
I got up at about 8:30, and after some coffee and a some toast, I reviewed the presentation that I gave today at noon at the Society for Technical Communications, at an event called "May Open Mic, or Instead of the Summit." My presentation was the same one, pretty much, that I delivered at work about a month ago on "Twitter: Basic Use & Professional Use."
Casey accompanied me to the event, and we left my house at about 11:15, arriving at the library about 10 minutes later. A presentation was in progress when we walked in, as the event had started at 10:30. I was supposed to present at noon.
I eventually started at about 12:15, and I appreciated the group accommodating the limited amount of time I had to spend with them today. My presentation seemed to be well-received and helpful to some people, so that's good.
A few affirmations captured:
- Alison Weaver came up and introduced herself to me before I started. I've been speaking with her via e-mail regarding potential publication of a couple of articles of mine in upcoming editions of the NCSU Student STC chapter's newsletter.
- "Harold" introduced himself to me after my presentation, saying it was good, and then asked me a question about the possibility of accessing Twitter on his phone.
- Casey complimented my presentation after it was done.
- I got a friend request on Facebook later in the day from someone who was at the meeting, with the embedded comment: "Great presentation on Twitter today, John! I'm a newbie, and your tips were very helpful."
From there, Casey and I had lunch at Mo Joe's Burgers at Peace and Glenwood, where Casey had the Big Mo, and I don't think that's short for the Big Homo. I had their Inferno Burger, which I always enjoy and is topped with lots of jalapenos and pepper jack cheese.
After that, we zipped down Glenwood to Helios, where we spent an hour or so using their free WIFI, and I had the "John drink," which one of the barista christened many months ago when I used to go there regularly. It's been quite a while since I've been, and frankly, I was surprised that the barista still worked there, much less remembered my drink.
The lady working the register started to write out my drink order for the barista, and I said, "Just tell her 'the John drink,' and then I looked at her, and said, "Do you remember it?"
"Single-iced Skinny Caramella Sugar-Free, right?"
"Yes!" I said, "Amazing."
"Was that two espresso shots or one?"
"One," I said.
After an hour or so, with our bodies frozen and arms aching from swatting flies (slight hyperbole), we entered the warmth of outside and the welcoming oven that my enclosed car had become.
Robert arrived at a little after 5, and at a little after 6, the three of us headed over to K&W for dinner. Everyone was able to choose something they liked, and we had a decent dinner for a decent price.
Dancing was fun tonight. The crowd was decent enough fairly early, but it really didn't start growing like it usually does by 10:00. It started filling up more between 10:15 and 10:30.
Casey drove a plethora of two-stepping, which is not our norm, but very welcomed and refreshing. I did another shuffle dance with him, which he'd taught me on Wednesday, and toward the end of it, it actually got close to feeling rote enough that I could do it without counting every step, or while being able to talk a little while dancing it, too. Yay!
There was a guy chain smoking a cigar there all night long, which was just vile. Most unpleasant.
My two Twitter friends Leo (@dtraleigh) and Jennifer (@wiggitywack) came in with about five minutes left of our dance time. We did the Tush Push and Tailights while they were there. I had a nice chat with them afterwards, and I found out that they are now dating. Sweet.
We left at there at about 11:30, and I was, once again, pleased to be able to pass my car keys off to Casey for the ride home. Thanks, Casey!