“There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.” ~Thorton Wilder
Listening to the conversations of others can be enlightening, as I discovered while at freshman orientation at my daughter’s future university. There is plenty of mingle-time scheduled in, allowing for parents to meet each other and feel connected in some small way to the much bigger world of the university. Eager student volunteers meander throughout the crown asking if we have concerns or questions and offering uncensored answers to our questions. Direct dialogue doesn’t always give the hidden answers that eavesdropping allows though, and the one common thread of conversation most heard was the proud parent’s introduction by way of their children’s’ accomplishments. I always wonder why parents feel the need to live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments and though we are, for the most part, proud of our children, it seems a bit sad that that is the way we identify our own accomplishments.
Parents often feel the need to mention, GPAs, SAT scores and the numerous scholarships offered and college acceptances their children have. The motivation for this is questionable. Is it to make others feel inadequate, to boost their own egos or simply the inability to remember how to talk about anything but their children? Now that my own children are heading off into the world of adulthood I find myself confronted with a mirror of my life and the reflection of 20+ years of energy and focus in a single direction, or I should say, in three closely related direction; my three daughters. It is now time to step back, shake myself off a bit and redirect my energy inward and in doing so, I find comfort in quite, peace in solitude and creativity springing from new sources.