Differing Tastes

How many of you remember the days of your youth, where you looked at your parents and their behavior and thought to yourself (or even said aloud) “I’ll never do that to my kids?”  Tons, probably.  Now think about just how many times you’ve had to eat those words as an adult.  Not quite as tasty as a pepperoni pizza, huh?

It’s not even bad stuff, necessarily . . . even the minor “I’ll nevers” creep up on you the older you get (I wasn’t gonna say wiser, because let’s be honest . . . age and wisdom aren’t mutually exclusive).

I’m noticing this more and more with Athena.  I find myself saying things to her that I HATED hearing as a kid.  Things like “You’re too young to understand,” or “You’ll understand when you get older.”  Phrases like that used to irk me no end, but now–on this side of the conversation–I can see that there was no intentional malice in them.  My parents weren’t trying to make me feel small, weak or stupid; there really ARE some things that you can’t possibly understand until you grow into an adult and have experienced them.

I’ve tried to soften the blow when I say things like that to Athena.  Once I hear me say those things, I’ll add how I hate those sayings (and how much I hated them when I was her age), and then try to explain what I just did in the paragraph above.  Thankfully she’s a mature young woman and she seems to take these comments in stride, but I still cringe inwardly whenever one of them leaves my mouth.

Something else that I’ve found myself doing that I didn’t think I would is trying to push my movie tastes onto her.  Craig and I both do this somewhat, but to be fair to us, there were a lot of really great movies that came out in our youth that we want to share with her.  She already loves Ghostbusters (and who wouldn’t?), but when we suggest watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, she gives that teenager crinkle of her nose that tells you she’s really not interested, but she doesn’t want to hurt our feelings and come right out to say so.  But, she loves National Treasure, which–excuse me–owes most of its greatness to its predecessor.  And yet we still can’t get her to agree to it just yet.  And forget about watching any Charlie Brown holiday special with her . . . she can’t stand them.

But I keep trying to remind myself that there were several things I also turned up my nose at in my youth:  Elvis Presley, Lawrence Welk, Bonanza/Gunsmoke, Black and White movies.  Things like that were my favorites of my mom, dad and even grandparents, but whenever they wanted to watch them (some in reruns) I could hear my toys calling from the other room.

I have to remember that Athena’s her own person and therefore isn’t going to like all the same things as we do.  And maybe she’ll come to enjoy them one day (Heck, I actually like some of the music that was played on Welk’s show all those years ago . . . though I still can’t take watching it for all the bad fashion of the day), but for right now they don’t hold much interest for her.  So it’s best to keep watching the things we DO like in common and to let her grow deeper into herself.

Aaaannnnddd then I get a hankering to have her see something from my childhood that I really want to share with her (because of how much it meant/means to me), and the cycle starts all over again.  But I take a small amount of comfort in knowing that she’ll be doing these same things 30 years down the road with her own children.

And she’ll understand it better then.

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