Personally, I thought we did a good job. Certainly not perfect but then no parent is perfect. Although Beyonce and Jay-Z may come pretty close. She is our first born, the guinea pig so to speak and like all parents, we made a few mistakes. Maybe I let her keep the pacifier a year or three too long; maybe I didn’t recognize the signs of a poison ivy allergy until her throat started closing (that’s called anaphylactic shock for all you new parents out there); maybe I should have discerned if her little hermit crab had a pulse before the elaborate funeral. Those aren’t too traumatizing, right? Happened a long time ago, right? Could have been worse, right?
After all, she is a smart college sophomore making her way in the world, somewhat independent – texting, emailing, facetiming and calling only a few times a day. Usually to ask for money. Without getting off her ass, she has fourteen ways to contact me. I called home from college once in four years and guess what? My parents weren’t home. I figured things out.
But a recent email, a bewildering did she really just type that sentence, caused me to question each and every parenting decision I ever made. I’ll blame this one on her father.
hi mom – one quick question – I wrote a check for the rent and I’m going to mail it. do i need a stamp for it to go somewhere in the same town?
I realize it is 2013. I realize the last time she sent an actual letter through the mail was when she was five years old. I woefully admit, most likely it was I who went to the post office, bought the stamp, placed it on the envelope and dropped it in the mail bin. I typically blame that kind of flawed do everything for our kids behavior on those other helicoptering parents of my generation. Come on, it was just a stamp. But now I see I am paying the price for not allowing her to learn this monumental life lesson on her own. Will this scar her for life? What if upon graduation she is offered a huge opportunity at Google for which she must work a week in the mailroom before a more glamorous job redesigning the Google search box? Will she fail miserably because she knows absolutely nothing about the behemoth mail system however antiquated it may be? And don’t get me started on all three of my kids inability to sign their name in script.
I am against anything and everything snail mail related. I receive and pay all of my bills online, experience junk mail rage daily and only buy stamps once a year – for Christmas cards. But really, does she really think you can drop an unstamped envelope into a mailbox and somehow, miraculously it will end up at its intended destination?
Is this generation of college students accustomed to having everything done for them? Are they lazy? Are we as parents at fault here? I am sure you will agree with me in saying, I did the best I could. If I could time travel back to that life altering moment when I bought the stamp for her, I certainly would but even though I love my kids, if I had that time travel machine, stamps would not be my first priority.
I also know you are thinking, she could have just googled how to mail a letter. Or asked her friend Siri who would provide a step by step guide. Instead, she decided to email good old Mom. Perhaps this era of googling, GPS relying, never make a move without tweeting leaves us ill-equipped to make even the slightest decisions without technology to back it up. And that sums up Apple’s ideology – introduce you to products you never knew you needed and now can’t live without. I wonder if always having information at our finger tips isn’t interfering with good old common sense sometimes.
If I hadn’t responded with lightning speed to her email, with a few LOLs, I am optimistic she would have figured it out on her own. I sure hope so, after all we are spending a great deal of money on a high quality college education.
Maybe I should shoot her a quick text asking if she wrote the address on the envelope.