Conversation With…A Rickety Elevator…about finally speaking out in older age.

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.


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.


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!”


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.

Really??????? How?????________________________________________________________________________________________

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?



110 thoughts on “Conversation With…A Rickety Elevator…about finally speaking out in older age.

  1. A great conversation. How nice of you to come up with the “out of order” sign.

    Unfortunately, as adults, I think we have to keep our mouth shut more than it should be. People no longer truly value honesty. People get offended by every little thing. Your mouth can get you into trouble. Or, in the best case scenario, it can lead to an argument and a headache. This is something I lament often, too. It’s not like me to keep things in. But I have to. More than I would like to. Anyway…

    I live far away from family. I’ve heard the “come back home now” way too many times. I probably hear it every time we speak. It puts me off. It makes me not want to talk to them at all. But that’s not how I was brought up. I understand what parents can feel. I sympathize. And no matter how they can push you away, you should still be open to pull them back. But from a child’s perspective, it hurts, too. It hurts that I am not being felt proud about. It hurts that I am not being wished well (whatever it takes to bring me back home). It hurts, knowing that they were young before, too. And that they moved far away from their families and lived their lives.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt feelings. Your perspective is really helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I AM proud of my daughter. That’s the way I feel in my head, but in my heart, I feel hurt. I think it partially relates to the fact that as she grew up became more of a great “friend” to me than a child I was raising. So, when that great “friend” left, it felt very sad. But…I also appreciate your comment and take it very seriously. Thank you! Where do we draw the line between friend and children?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think they need to hear both – that you will miss them dreadfully but that you understand they have to live their own lives; the same goes for anything else they do. We do need to know our parents care about what we do, but to retain the right to our own paths. As usual you have applied this to an excellent vehicle

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Before you know it, your little girl elevator will have a baby elevator of her very own . . . and will be BEGGING you to come live nearby to help her (or, she may come home to you . . . stranger things have happened!)

    Liked by 5 people

  4. When you choose. I am outspoken. But it does remind me of when I left home at 18. I wanted to for various reasons. We kept in touch with letters back then. Maybe start letter writing instead of letting electronics do the talking, letting those feelings be expressed a few at a time, and see what happens.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. That’s another thought provoking one. I recently moved continents and my mom was not very happy about that. I speak to her every single day and I feel connected to her more than I was when I was closer. Distance does teach one to value the person and the relation even more.
    But when it is time to let go of my kids, I will come back and read this post and comments again. I hope I can still say the same things. 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    • When your kids grow up, it will be so valuable that you have experienced moving away from you mom and know what motivated it. Anyway, maybe your kids WON’T move far away when they become adults. And…like you…I speak to my daughter every day, especially when she’s nervous about something. LOL

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Each time one of my children flew the coop I sent them off with the sentiment “Have an adventure!” I never wanted them to feel like they missed out on experiences. We also had a ritual before they left whereby we’d go together and I’d get a tattoo of a butterfly with their initial in the design.
    I now accept that distance may be a fact of life, but they are Living! their lives. If we don’t speak often enough, I accept that’s the role I modeled. From our conversations though, I know they understand I am always their safety net, and our love is strong. Love trumps all.
    (Love your Conversations format, Cathi!)

    Liked by 6 people

    • What a beautiful way to describe the experience. Your tattoo idea is so creative and puts such a positive spin on having adventures in life. I guess the bond and friendship I formed with my daughter when she lived nearby will have to take on a different form, and based on what you just wrote, maybe that’s okay.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Wow! Does this hit home! I guess frustration is part of being a parent. I seem to recall I moved across the country from my parents. NOW I KNOW, how they felt.
    But remember the most important thing!! You are loved! And when it comes right down to it, isn’t that what’s the most important? Matters of the heart.
    Giant hugs my fellow empty nester! ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  8. It is hard when children move away and they are so excited about their own new lives and adventures that they just don’t really stop to consider how ‘Mum’ is feeling. I agree with K@countingpenniesandsheep, although you might not feel it at the moment, you have nurtured a child who has grown and has the confidence to take on the world. What an achievement as a parent! It is hard being away from them, but be proud of your parenting and your beautiful daughter. Instead of trying to hold her back you have let her go and fly. xx

    Liked by 5 people

  9. It is horrible to hold all those feelings in, but knowing you raised a responsible and respectful adult, you can take comfort. It’s funny how generation after generation feels the same. My mom and I sit back an watch the history repeat itself. Where does the time go. 💗😊 Fantastic post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You know, I think someone should write a book called, “Empty Nesting For Dummies.” You’re so right, history does repeat itself! But maybe if we have a book out there that outlines all the things we should look out for as empty nester parents and as their children, we won’t have as many stomach aches. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting that you write about this now. The other day my mother told me she hasn’t had a chance to say how she feels, and that I said hurtful things. I didn’t. This happens all the time. For whatever reason, she’s always the victim. Sigh. As for my relationship with my children, I say it like it is. Don’t like it? Too bad. Does it hurt when they fire back at me and accuse me of interfering. Sure it does. But hey, we’re all adults, right? At least I am. Your children need to grow up. Hang in there, mom. They’ll realize it soon enough 💕

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I think you should just be honest and say what you feel, that you miss her but understand that she is living her life as she wants it. Maybe it may be worth you relocating to be nearer to her further down the line.

    I am fortunate because one daughter lives five minutes away and the other one an hour away. Saying that I don’t see lots of them, we talk on the phone and FaceTime often though.

    One thing I realised when I split up from their dad was that I am only a part of their lives, it hurt but made me realise that although we love each other we still have own directions to travel.

    If ever they have a problem I’m the first person they call 🙄 and for babysitting duties 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m with you, Elaine! I think it’s healthy to find a way to say how we feel, somehow. You know, I’m in touch with a spiritual person who believes every soul chooses to come to this planet with a lifetime goal. So, when our children are born, they choose to be in our lives but have their own journey. Each person does have his/her own journey, as you said. And yes, isn’t it funny when our kids need something they call us FIRST? I guess we’re the voice of sanity. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I woke up in the night thinking about you Cathi and although I had already posted a reply I felt I needed to post more. 😉

        I think you know that I am a spiritual person Cathi and I believe all what your friend has said. I also believe that we are meant to learn lessons throughout our lifetimes. I know that my lesson in this life is patience and trust. I want things done now and I trust few to be able to do it right.

        The problem is that until we begin to correct our lessons we keep getting reminders in the form of frustrating happenings. I know you love your daughter and I don’t doubt that she loves you, but maybe with respect you have not found your own fulfilment yet which will heal that hole in your life. 🌺

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Elaine, I really appreciate your comment which is perceptive and spot on. Like you, I believe we’re all here on a spiritual journey. I believe mine is about overcoming fear and expressing myself creatively. When my kids were growing up, I had a full time job outside the house which took up some of my thoughts so my kids could live their lives with enough emotional space. Now that they have grown and I work from home, the balance has shifted, and my spiritual journey has taken a turn. I guess that’s how I ended up Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road–trying to figure it all out again. I deeply appreciate your kind and loving thoughts! Thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank goodness I did not offend you , which I would never want to. ♥️. I only found myself after a lot of heartache which forced me to look deeper inside myself. You know what they say, no pain, no gain 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  12. it’s a tricky situation, isn’t it? Say too much and you might put them off. I know that happened quite a bit with my stepdaughters after they first moved out. Now they are older it is easier to talk them like adults. And they come home more. And we visit them more too. It makes me appreciate the time we have together and how much they have grown over the years. Big hugs! It does get easier with time!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. A funny post with more than a little grain of truth to it! You know, I think that as parents we have become almost too accepting of the fact that we aren’t supposed to be anything but cheerleaders to our kids. It is important that we offer them encouragement and learn to listen without giving advice all the time, but I think it’s also important that we are allowed to be honest now and then with our feelings. I think it’s okay to tell your daughter that you hate having her so far away from you, as long as you don’t make it ALL about your feelings. As long as you tell her you’re glad she’s happy and aren’t trying to tell her she needs to move back and are proud of her for having the courage to move away. We’re all a complicated mixture of feelings, and I don’t think it’s wrong to acknowledge that, particularly when our kids are grown up enough to realize that we aren’t just parents, we’re also human beings. Just my two cents…..

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ann, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment filled with perceptive wisdom–as always. I actually remember the day I realized my father wasn’t The Wizard of Oz. Throughout his life, as a father, he acted as if he had all the answers. I loved that about him and found it comforting. Then one day, when I was a young adult, something happened (though I don’t remember what) and I saw him as a human being. I guess we owe that experience to our children as well…..though for me, it was a little shocking. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m always walking on egg shells with my kids. I’ve mentioned before that I have one daughter that doesn’t speak to me, even though I tried not to say anything she didn’t like. Our son’s marriage has broken up, and though we tried to warn him before he got married, we were told to keep our opinions to ourselves. Now he asks, “What did you see that I didn’t?” Our youngest has very strong opinions on everything, and gets offended if we voice ours. Is that the lot of a 2018 parent?

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Aw, sorry to hear she’s chosen to stay far away. Hopefully, that means you’ll get to enjoy traveling there to see her? I do tell my kids that it hurts sometimes that they are far away, but, I also remember how I appreciated it when my parents let me do my own thing as I grew into adulthood. I make peace with the situation remembering it was my job to eventually let them grow and go out on their own.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Maybe, just maybe, your daughter has cut her apron strings and you have yet to cut yours 🙂 Loving someone is also letting them go. If they love you, they will never leave. And anyway, even as grown ups living far away, when they get hurt, they still turn to mum for hugs and comfort 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. That’s so tough to have someone you love far away. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re walking on eggshells with expressing yourself, but I know it’s not always as straightforward as that. Maybe if talking is difficult, then a letter may work better? And sometimes kids come back when they’re ready. I was very much okay with not being near home when I graduated from college. I was exploring my career, moving all over. But eventually, when I got older (and especially true when I became a mom myself), I understood my mother’s perspective more. I also was more settled, more mature, and wanted to go back to having a closer relationship with my mom. Time can heal.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think you’re spot on when you say “time can heal,” and when you say becoming a mom changes your perspective. Both have been true for me. Sometimes ranting to someone else (other than my daughter) about my hurt and anger can relieve some of my sad feelings and help me speak to my daughter in a gentler way about what upsets me. I hardly ever think it helps to scream and yell at someone…but…I don’t know!!!! 🙂 Maybe what parents did in the 60s was a great shortcut. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Absolutely brilliant, funny, sad and relatable. I too am an empty nester, for over 9 years now, since my youngest flew away. The truth is I still miss them all every day, but you are right, they just haven’t got to the same place as us … yet! The other thing I still struggle with is not so much the distance between us as social media allows us to stay connected (I am in Australia now and our daughters are still in the UK with kiddies of their own) but what to do with all of the food that is left over at most dinner times. I just don’t seem to able to cook for two, as six is the smallest number my pots and pans are programmed to cook for 🤣

    Thanks for taking the time to follow my blog, I really do appreciate that, and I look forward to reading more of your work and following along too 💜

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m laughing out loud at your comment about still cooking too much for dinner! I go through that in a different way. When my kids come home to visit, I offer them everything in the world all at once. It’s hard for me to remember they can take care of themselves. 🙂 I’m glad we’re following each other, too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  19. as for elevators, the old ones are so pretty!
    as for kids, I don’t have any, nonetheless I feel for you. No one wants to feel left behind or discarded or outgrown. when my mom had me, she and my father simply assumed having kids was requisite. nowadays, many folks choose to have kids, which must make things all the more difficult at times ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Such a beautiful way of putting your thoughts across. Holding your thoughts and feelings inside hurts so much no matter what your age is…or where you are in life. I guess sometimes its okay to confront and say things you truly feel just to get the load off your chest. Hope you feel better soon…

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Hi Cathi! I feel bad for the elevator, but at least he gets a sign – someone needs to do that for you too!! I don’t have children, but I can only imagine how difficult that would be – I don’t know that I would be able to be quiet 🙂 Good luck!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Another great post Cathi. Both my kids are still at home but I might feel like you soon. I don’t know yet. I don’t know either if my own mother felt like you when I’ve decided at 21 to go study in LA. I stayed there two years and back then we didn’t communicate through Internet so I called or wrote to her only once in a while. Did she feel hurt? She never said anything about it to me. Then again my mother didn’t talk much. She kept every thing inside. And that hurt me. So I think as adults we have to find the right balance between the two. The need to speak can be vital because keeping everything to ourselves can quickly become a pain. But we must also say things without excess, know when to stay silent and let them live their life and make their own mistakes. Easier said then done, I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Maneuvering adult relationships with our kids is a challenge they don’t tell you about in the baby books. Letting go of expectations has been the key to my happiness in the relationships but I’m still conflicted at times. Wondering when to speak up, when to keep my mouth shut; asking if I’m making stuff up just to make myself miserable. The best thing I can do is live my own life well, and hope they want to spend some time with me along the way. I’m lucky they live nearby – it was so painful when they lived farther away. I feel your pain!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Cathi, another grand post! I’m glad the elevator got a rest from the ups and downs, but will we? My adult kiddos are still at home, one in grad school and one building a house down the street. But I feel your heart. My daughter left at 17 and moved away to “find herself” only to return 5 years later and has been home since figuring out “adulting”. I worried and stressed every day she was gone. She left me as a child and returned to me a woman, covered with tattoos and her hair in dreadlocks. I grieved over the changes at first, but she’s beautiful and strong and I adore her. She’s headstrong and opinionated, but she needs to be to live in this world. As she matures, she’s 27, we are closer than we’ve ever been. We relate more as equal women than Mother and daughter, but it was painstakingly heartbreaking to get here. We change and they change and all we can hope for is better communication with honesty. Hang in there, you too will both find your way to each other, it just will be different.
    Hugs, Maggie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Maggie, thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt response. It meant a lot to me. It must have been a very hard 5 years during the time your daughter moved away, and I’m so happy about the outcome! I recently had a conversation with my daughter about the 3,000 mile distance between us. It’s clear she misses me and my husband as much as we miss her, but she also clearly stated she was very unhappy living locally (on the east coast). She explained she felt as if she was drowning and there was always a dark cloud over her head. She feels at home where she is now and is thriving. It made me feel better to know she didn’t leave because my husband and I were overbearing parents, and I do see her growing into a mature and wonderful woman. Hugs, Cathi

      Liked by 1 person

  25. When we were planning my daughter’s wedding she was really impatient with me about something and kind of snapped at me. She made me cry. I told her that she needed to cut me a break, it was hard dealing with all of the changes, it was a lot for me to deal with. I think it made her think. I have noticed that the older my kids get, the more considerate they are becoming. But it still doesn’t mean I like this empty nest/getting older/what are all these aches and pains stage!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this, but I liked it and I am going to follow your blog. As for the elevator, I think I side with it. I mean, what if I didn’t want to go to the third floor?
    I also suspect that your elevator has been talking to my TV remote. I pushed the buttons for channel 11 and instead I got channel 61. Weird huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I can’t speak from a mother’s point of view as I haven’t any kids, but I can speak from a grown-up kid’s point of view, so you can get at least one side of it. My mum told me incessantly about her feelings all through my teens and early adulthood and I found it a burden, I felt that she was giving me no space to be myself. Later on, I understood why she did: she had the same needs then as you do now, to be heard as a person in her own right. My dad, though, was the opposite, he said nothing about himself until a few years before he died when he allowed me to record his memoirs (not for publication, just for me and my sister) and I was often open-mouthed not having realised a lot of what he’d felt. I wished he’d told me at the time, but know I wouldn’t have been able to take it on board for the same reason that I couldn’t with my mum. What I’m trying to say is that it depends on the level of maturity your daughter has. If she’s level-headed and you think she can take it, tell her how you feel (maybe without the hysterics 😉 ) but if you think she’s still got a long way to go – wait. Just don’t wait too long. You are both human beings with needs, regardless of the daughter/mother relationship.

    Just my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Val, your comment was so helpful! Coincidentally, I did speak to my daughter about my true feelings a few days ago. We had a mature discussion, and she explained she was really unhappy living in the state where she grew up (where my husband and I still live). She explained she didn’t like the person she was, there was always a dark cloud over her head, she didn’t like the weather, and so on. So her decision to move far away and to a different climate was not because we were bad parents, it was because she had to be in a physical and spiritual environment that’s in sync with her soul. But as you wrote in your comment, there has to be some kind of balance when we have these discussions. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt and wise words.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. You gave your daughter wings and now she’s using them. Wasn’t that what you wanted? Like the elevator, and in a way like myself I suppose, didn’t you resent, if only just a little, scheduling your life around her wants and needs? Sounds like you and I both felt that was what we good mothers should and would want to do. It’s a big adjustment when your wants and needs are pretty much the only ones to consider in planning daily activities, right? I personally had difficulty (and still often do) figuring out what my own wants and needs are. So I guess we can both say that it’s probably OK for the elevator that we may still be to just sit and idle on one floor for a whole day or maybe even as long as week. Or we can move up and down in fluctuating “patterns” over those same periods. Maybe that’s what we have to do in the process of figuring out how high we want to go?


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