I remember driving with my mom in the passenger seat. I might comment on a pretty house. She answered me with silence.
When I asked my mom for her opinion on how a new dress looked on me, she would reply with “I wonder what it would look like on me?” She wouldn’t answer my question.
If I asked for her opinion about a new couch or a new pair of pillows for the living room, she would only respond to my question by asking, “What do you think?” She WOULD NOT add her 2 cents worth.
Opinions. I hated that my mom had NONE. (It still pisses me off and she passed away almost 20 years ago).
Now I am an older woman and I don’t want to be voiceless. I want others to ask my opinion and value my thoughts. I have experience, damn it, and life has taught me a thing or two.
You go through life with your kids (as babies, toddlers, and young children…and they adore you! Then they become more independent, but still need you and start growing into their own. When they become “tweens” and teens, the change begins. This is not a fun period of life for a lot of parents of teenagers, as you begin to feel that you are viewed as out of touch. They know everything and work very hard to show this to you. Actually, the fact is this is when they are the dumbest. (This must be true as I read it on the internet!!)
Fortunately, when your children become twenty-something adults, they seem to love your opinions, some of your tastes, and are usually, you see I say (usually), fun to have around.
Then, when your children have children of their own, they become your friends and you love to be around them. Grandparents are VERY valuable!!!
Then, something happens, they bring around their friends. They have fun talking and sharing ideas with each other. Since you have been having a good time with your child/children you feel justified to share in their conversation. (Especially if they are on your domain.)
Well, guess what, I have discovered that some of their friends think you are a total uneducated, unworldly, and just plain boring person! What?!? I have gotten the feeling, somehow, that I am “in the way”, an obstacle to navigate around.
The result…people either ignore your insightful comments or ignore you completely. I’ve gotten this look that says, “We were talking…who are you and what do you know about anything”?
If you are lucky you might even get an opportunity to share a thought or experience. After you ponder this idea, god forbid, you think your opinion must be needed or even appreciated. Well, think again. You must have happened to have been included because you probably heard the conversation, by accident I’m sure, and thought surely they wanted your opinion. Don’t kid yourself. This is not the case. The proof is when you are told, “I knew I shouldn’t have shared this topic with you.” So much for being included.
I had a mother who never gave an opinion. It seemed like It made me think that she must not be very smart since she never expressed herself. Well, guess what, I now know why. She just got shot down so many times that she decided it wasn’t worth it. So she just gave up.
On the other hand, my mother-in-law gave opinions when asked (usually not what you wanted to hear), but everyone loved her for it. One of my favorite memories of her when I asked her for her opinion about a rustic mirror that I put above my sofa. Her response? “I think it is the stupidest looking thing I have ever seen!” On other occasions, she would reply with, “Well, YOU have to live with it.” She shared her unvarnished opinion with heart and an indifference to whether you would agree or not. It still makes me giggle when I think of the vehemence with which she shared many opinions.
Well, guess what? This old senior citizen will never shut up, so get used to it. Somewhere there has to be someone that likes my opinions and wants to listen to some very worthy and worldly advice. I want to be heard and my opinions appreciated by people over the age of four!!!!.
So what is the solution? Do you have a suggestion? I am not going to give up who I am. I am going to continue to express my opinion. My mom lost her voice when it wasn’t valued. I don’t want that to happen to me…