Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I came to a high-rise. I entered the building and noticed a rickety, older elevator. I walked toward it and it spoke to me:
RICKETY ELEVATOR: Going up? I have to ask. It’s an elevator thing.
No way. I’m not going inside you. I don’t go in elevators. I’m claustrophobic.
RICKETY ELEVATOR: Good! Because I’m sick of taking people and their dogs up and down and up and down and up and down. All day. All night. I never have a say about the way I’m treated, or who I want to let into my life.
So, what would you like to be different?
RICKETY ELEVATOR: Well, after all these years, I don’t want to put just anybody inside me anymore. Why do I have to be open to everybody? Why don’t I have a choice? Why can’t I speak up and say, “No! I don’t like you! You’re not coming in here! Take the stairs!”
You deserve that.
RICKETY ELEVATOR: And furthermore! If someone pushes the third floor, I have to go there. What if I don’t feel like going to the third floor? I have to go anyway and keep my mouth shut. What if I just want to take a rest? When is it time for ME? When do I get to express MY feelings?
If not now, when?
RICKETY ELEVATOR: I’m with you! But…it’s hopeless. Why am I telling you this? You’re not an elevator. You don’t get it.
I do get it. Because I’m an empty nester. Sometimes my kids do things that are hurtful or make me sad, but I don’t get to speak out either.
RICKETY ELEVATOR: Why not?
Well, here’s the way I see it. As a parent in 2018, I’m supposed to walk on eggshells. Like, if I have concerns about girlfriends or boyfriends my kids have chosen, if I say the slightest, teeniest, tiniest negative thing, they go crazy and argue until I feel like a speck of dirt. I have to be quiet and let them decide what they think for themselves.
RICKETY ELEVATOR: What a bore.
And here’s MY big question: when I do I get to say how I really feel in a straightforward way???? Even though I’m the grown up!
RICKETY ELEVATOR: You said it, sister Rant on!
Listen to this! My daughter moved to the other side of the country to have an adventure.
RICKETY ELEVATOR: I know. I read your blog. You never stop talking about it. You’re obsessed.
Sorry. But now it looks like my daughter will live far away forever. As a Baby Boomer mom, I’m supposed to say to my daughter, “Oh my goodness! I’m so happy you found your life. I’m so happy you found happiness. I’m so proud of you.”
RICKETY ELEVATOR: What would you rather say?
I’d love to say to my daughter, “What about ME???? I HATE that you live so far away! I HATE that we communicate through some kind of screen most of the time! It hurts that you moved so far from me! Why don’t you care as much as I do? Why don’t you miss me as much as I miss you? Why why why why and why???? Come home now!”
RICKETY ELEVATOR: Got it.
So? When do I get to say that??? I’m an empty nester mom. Why don’t MY feelings get a chance to come out??????
RICKETY ELEVATOR: I don’t know. I’m an elevator.
I know. Well…even if there isn’t hope for me, there’s hope for you.
At that moment, I made an “out of order” sign and happily placed it on the elevator’s door. Now, whenever the elevator needs to “speak out” about being shoved around, it puts the sign on its door and takes a break.
But I still haven’t solved my own problem about speaking out. Do you ever let out your raw, uncensored feelings to your adult kids? If you do, how do you say it without upsetting them? Or…maybe they just need to know that parents have feelings too? When are we ALL adults?