My pearls of wisdom
It is inconceivable that she never offered any. It must be that she offered quite a bit– all mothers do – and I chose not to hear it. Or I heard it and so immediately and completely ignored it that it never got stored in my brain and thus, lo these many years later, cannot be retrieved and recalled.
So why am I surprised (miffed) (okay, hurt) when my own daughter neglects to listen to my counsel, fails to embrace the wisdom I attempt to bestow upon her, the quick and elegant solutions I propose to her problems, the thorny situations I so easily clarify by the blinding intelligence of my insights?
I’m not completely stupid. I know enough not to offer advice about friends or love or fashion. (About the latter I am deeply ignorant anyway.) But when I recently offered advice about something I know as a long-time insider – navigating the terrain of college – I was shut down. Immediately. It’s been a blessedly long while – months maybe – since I last felt the particular chill of that teenage stare, since someone did an about-face and left the room while I was talking. But it all came back in a flash.
When is it that your kid thinks you’re smart again? My girl thought I was a genius when she was three, six, ten. I had the answer to everything. Then, just about when she turned twelve, I got really really stupid all of a sudden. When, exactly, do I get my old IQ back? I’m waiting.
(Okay. I do remember one piece of advice. It was that old one about wearing clean underwear in case you’re in an accident and taken to the hospital. Years ago I was riding my bike, got hit by a car and was on a stretcher in an ambulance on the way to a hospital when I started to laugh so hard that the EMT thought I was hysterical. I had just remembered my mother’s advice. And it was too late. )