seriously haven't heard from you in seven minutes please pick up we're worried about you not a joke please answer now hello?
2. Yes. I think we all get more irritated than we should with our parents. Partly because we all have childhood issues that never quite get resolved. Also as they get older and we see them start to get a bit out of step with what's current, it can be irritating. I'm 68 years old and sometimes see that happening between me and my own kids now, and that sucks ass, believe me. Anyway my parents are dead, but your question reminds me of something that I feel like sharing. About 2 years before my mom died, she and I were on the phone and had a bad connection. There was an echo and a delay of a few seconds, so I was hearing everything I said, repeated back to me in my own voice. What I heard was my irritated tone of voice which was totally uncalled for. I was appalled. It was a huge eye-opener. The next 2 years were rough... commuting 4 hours round trip most weekends as she needed more help from me, eventually moving her to my town, then caring for her in her last year as she was dying. Caregiving is a true labor of love but extremely stressful. The thing is, after that weird phone call where I heard my own tone of voice, I never once lost patience with my mom, never got irritated with her. That one small thing changed my relationship with her.
Thank you, Alex. I leave you now to finally hit the Click Here To Become a Paid Subscriber button.
1. i get worried if my parents call more than once, because i have many family members and many family members mean many unexpected deaths to anticipate, because my brain works like that
2. my mum called me the other day to tell me to update my LinkedIn profile. she loves LinkedIn. I think she thinks it will bring me, like, career success or something. it will not. i do not want to update my linkedin profile.
Awesome. AWESOME. Laughing, crying, jaw's on the floor... are they okay, seriously, are they okay...? They're okay. It's okay. They're all okay.
Special request: could you *please* warn me in advance of the next post you publish that contains this level of peril? I'm struggling with so much adrenaline right now that there aren't enough teabags in the house to deal with it.
It seems like nearly everyone has this anxiety. Somehow the smart phone has contrubuted to this by giving us the illusion that everyone is available 24/7. I have had this fear before, but it has faded as my children are well grown. I no longer ecpect them to answer a call immediately as I did when they were younger. I think at some point, we just all agreed, that we would return calls within a certain timeframe- 24 hours or so. They know I turn my phone sounds off from7 pm to 7 am. I know the hours they are too busy to answer. Basically, you have to accept that no news is good news. If something horrid has happened, you can't change it and you will certainly hear about it soon enough.
6. I lost my mom and wish she would call me it really sucks and is sad. I wish she called more when she was here. Or I wish I called more. I wish we talked more. My dad is here and he never calls. And I never call. I sometimes call. We need to talk more. My family has this thing where we’re all like opposite sides of a magnet and struggle to stay connected. Generational trauma. Perhaps a gene that’s passed through and makes us all unconnected and fragmented. You have good parents. You’re a good parent.
and this shit right here is why I became a paid subscriber: because on a random wednesday afternoon, with my VERY delayed breakfast of oatmeal and peanut butter and white peaches balancing on my leg and my 6mo son napping in his crib for like, the second time, I am somehow actually crying. on a random wednesday afternoon your humanity meets my humanity and hi hello I feel a little changed and reassured that ITS NOT JUST ME and when my son wakes up I’ll definitely be thinking about this essay and how so often my mind has gone there ohhhh how it’s gone there and I’ll hug him so tight even though he’ll wiggle away because he’s 6mo and can’t be bothered being hugged but I’ll feel so damn lucky to be holding my wiggling baby cuz it’ll mean he’s here and he’s safe and SHIT I’m crying again and I kid you not he just started too. he’s awake and here I go.
This made me laugh so much. And also...yeah, so true. So my parents never call me, and never worried much, I don’t think. I was a Gen X kid who mostly got ignored as long as I wasn’t bleeding. But I actually love my kids, so I feel this essay hardcore. Here’s what you have to look forward to...he’s going to leave the house without you. Completely without you. I have 16 year old twins, a 13 year old, and my baby just turned 10 (!! Wtf). My 16 year old daughter now drives herself and her siblings places. And that is awesome and completely terrifying. Good news...I get to text with my kids and they send me silly memes and update me on their days and send me heart emojis. Bad news...that’s more humans that I want to keep tabs on and protect because it would destroy me if something happened to them and they’re just roaming around out in the world WITHOUT ME to protect them. I mean, how in the world do people do this and stay sane? I guess they don’t. Right? That’s the answer. They don’t.
Seriously LOL with tears... I have received terrible news after multiple phone calls, multiple times in life, so that behavior would be triggering AF for me. And also... I have totally done it, minus calling the police. Oh my god lol.
Whew heavy and true all at the same time. My son is only two months and I worry about my own mortality a lot. I love him and mom so much, I worry I won’t be here. I write letters to him, via Substack, to process being a dad - but in reality all of the letters are like me writing my own Just in Case I’m Not Around - Here’s my Own Eulogy and not that boring spread you get at the funeral. Again, thank you for your vulnerability. Makes me feel like I’m not alone or crazy.
I'm embarrassed and uncomfortable with how relatable this. As both a child and as a parent, I have been and continue to be on both sides of this fucked-up equation.
The constant calls from my mother's maternal worry, making sure I'm ok, and my incessant texts to my kids, saying hi and checking in. To my kid's I'm the overbearing asshole dad. To my parents I'm probably an ungrateful bastard of a son. Though not a bastard in the strictest sense of the word. To my knowledge my legitimacy has never been in question, that is, at least until now...
Between the frying pan and the fire, I don't even know who I am anymore. But it sure is getting hot in here.
My mother was a constant caller, and I decided not to be that way when my kids left the nest. I do not call my grown children every day, or even every week. If it goes several weeks between hearing from them, it would be nice if they would at least respond to my texts within 48 hours. Do you younger folks feel that's appropriate? It would also be nice if they picked up the phone to ask how we are once in a while.
One thing that's interesting about the "helicoptering" I've seen over the years (and been a party to in one form or another) is that the time tolerance gets smaller and smaller as we get more technologically integrated.
When I was a kid, you could disappear for like 12 hours at a time, and it was glorious and amazing. And dangerous! but worth it.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, and parents wanted check ins from their kids within an hour.
Skip ahead to today, and anything over than an instantaneous response elicits sheer panic.
We have a unspoken rule in our family that you do NOT call another family member unprompted.
Unprompted calls means bad news. Something terrible happened and you’re about to get hit with a truckload of awfulness.
Send out a buffer text, something like “you free to call?”
Which translates to “I’m safe and everyone is safe and I’m not sick or dead or in a ditch and I just want to chat don’t worry I promise”
It goes text, then call. Thems the rules.
Love the honesty through this whole article. So relatable! Once my husband went out for a walk and didn’t come home for a while, and his location showed him in the ocean. I swore he had drown. I had a similar reaction to you. Great writing, I was on the edge of my seat and also laughing.
Oh my goodness Alex... you just made me feel better about myself so thank you for that. Because to whatever degree I do this, I have never done it to this degree. But to answer your questions:
1. I do worry that people in my life are dead. I imagine bad things happening, I imagine the aftermath, I imagine the whole shebang... my imagination might be a little too good, because sometimes when I find myself with tears rolling down my cheeks imagining what life will look like without my husband/kids, I realize how insane how I am, and how I have enough things to cry about that actually happened, that I don't have to be making up scenarios to cry about.
2. Everything my parents do irritate me. Everything.
3. Don't ask this question because parents of older kids love to tell that you not only does it not get easier, it gets harder, and like wth... what shall I do with that information? Although it may make me cry less while I'm imagining something terrible happening to them, cuz, you know, I won't have to deal with that anymore. Too dark? I thought so too.
5. Two of these? Come on man.
6. My brain is thinking how after I read your stuff, my brain is thinking in your kind of voice cadence way and even I think it happens to other people too because the comments on your posts all sort of have your tone of voice and you're basically an influencer and I think people like the freedom to just write words as they come to their brain without making them sound all polished and perfect and eloquent. Not that your words aren't perfect and polished and eloquent- you know what I mean. Also your posts make me think about why AI will never take over human writing because as AI gets better, the quest for authenticity will just get stronger, and I think that's why your writing resonates so much, it's just real human stuff. AI could never.
7. I don't like being told how many numbers to answer. I'll put 7 if I want to.
1) yes and also this is why for my upcoming bday I want me and my husband to go write an official lawyer will type thingy
X) i love the dedicated workout room line
6) answering the prompts!!! and the vuleta a espana. are primoz and jonas gonna keep "attacking" sepp? is it even attacking? see attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPWbqmIxmWE&ab_channel=ChrisHorner