Monday, March 31, 2008

The (Honest) Truth

As a kid, I was the queen of bending the truth when it came to relaying things to my parents. My parents were overly strict, and I was an only child, which made it difficult for me to balance being a kid (for better or worse) and not getting grounded for doing what everyone else was. I wouldn’t necessarily lie to my parents, but I would stop short of telling the whole story in many, many cases.

For instance, I would ask if I could go over to hang out with a friend of mine one evening. What I wouldn’t divulge was that the person’s parents were away for the weekend, and many other people were going to be there. Then, when I was asked how things went, I’d leave out instances that involved other people and situations in which things happened that wouldn’t have happened if parents had been there. It was a graceful dance (and the only good dancing I’ve ever been able to do).

I’ve pretty much continued this line of communication with my parents since I learned to do it. It keeps them happy, keeps me happy, and no one gets hurt. I suppose I had lightened up a bit and divulged more as I got older – once I was out of college and became an adult – but even now I still managed to do it to some extent.

This past weekend I attended my grandmother’s 91st birthday party with my mom and some other relatives. It was a good time, and we were all happy to be celebrating my grandmother’s 91st year, knowing full well most of us won’t make it that far! We started talking about age, at which time my aunt pointed out that I was “getting old” (come on, 30 is NOT old!). This transpired into a conversation about my plans to celebrate my 30th in Vegas with my girlfriends, which in turn transpired into my sharing too much about how Anna has already researched bail bondsmen in Vegas incase any of us wind up in the pokey. My mom, sitting across the table, but down some, gave a disapproving laugh and continued on with another conversation. I went on to tell my cousin-in-law, Kathy, about our “insurance policy” against actually getting arrested. This made my mother’s ears perk up.

I was midway through explaining what exactly this insurance policy entailed, when I see my mom out of the corner of my eye stop her conversation and look right at me. See, this is something I would have conveniently left out had I been talking to her.

“Mom, stop listening!” I say. “Go back to your conversation.”

“No,” she says, “I want to hear this.”

Then it hit me. Why does it matter? Yes, she’ll disapprove of what I’m saying, but so what? I’m an adult. I own my own house. I can’t be punished by her. It doesn’t matter. It does… Not… Matter.

“Well, fine.” I go on to say. “Two years ago when we were in Vegas we were drinking in a parking garage and wound up having our pictures taken with these cops. They have my friend, Anna, in handcuffs, and I have my hand on one of their guns, so we’re going to print these out and each keep a copy in our back pocket as an insurance policy. We have the negatives.”

Surprisingly, I don’t remember my mom saying a single word. Except maybe, “Don’t you dare get arrested.”

The thing is, I won’t. I never have. I guess the dance I did for many years between “fun” and “overprotection” actually paid off – well, the “overprotection” did (I can’t believe I’m saying this). Perhaps if they hadn’t been so overprotective, I would have been closer to the “fun/jail” line, like many of my friends were. The overprotection kept my choices somewhat conservative.

In the end, it is really liberating knowing that I can say whatever I want around my mom – I’m an adult! But, I think I’ll still choose to leave some things out. Maybe those “things” will just diminish in number.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I mostly tell my parents the truth. My dad has gotten into way more trouble than I ever will, so they can't say shit!