my nephew dropped me on facebook

Not the one who just got married.  The other one who also happens to be breaking out of a starting gate into a new life.  In this case:  high school. 

Alas, it was only two weeks ago I rode high in this nephew’s “favourite friends” list, and now I’m out.  Cut off.  Me the fun artsy aunt who’s always done fun artsy projects with him and my nieces.  The one who was always sort of an extension to his mother, he said – in a good way.  Oh, and the mom – the equally cool, fun, happy mom?  She’s out too.

Okay I get that he had to make a choice – Facebook had to become either for friends only, or include family.  And there is a LOT of his family on Facebook.  Even a grandmother and a few great aunts.  It’s become something of a family forum, and that’s where the kid’s problems started.

See, there was this little incident of a swear word on a certain Facebook status for all the world to see, and a certain mom having an issue with it and a certain kid having computer privileges taken away.  You’re absolutely right, we all said (us grownups anyway).   It was a reckless, dumb teenager thing to say in a public realm, and my sister had every right to be angry about it – his Facebook is a reflection of him, and by extension, his family.  The kid needs to know how to behave around different audiences.  It’s an important grownup skill. 

So he had to make the choice.  I’m sure I would have done exactly the same thing he did when I was his age.  I would have made a big sigh and said to myself, hey, this is my new teenager world and it’s big and exciting and I don’t want no mom or no sisterly extension of my mom (even if she is fun and artsy) looking in the window.  It’s mine.  My high school friends don’t care if I say fuck on Facebook.  (Although, the closest thing we had to Facebook back when I was in school was passing a note around in math class.)

So I really do understand.  He is embarking on a brand new level of maturity – from my 48 year old perspective, reckless profanity – not so mature.  Go ahead and be an ass (his mother’s honest to goodness fear) around your high school buddies all you want – but not around relatives and grownups. Looking through my teenager eyes I’m thinking, what’s the big deal? 

My nephew is taking that new and exciting road into greater independence and freedom, and I don’t have to know all about it – nor do I want to.  I remember how great it felt to explore who I was and grow into my marvellously individual self and have more and more freedom to do so.  And teenagers deserve privacy just like the rest of us. We need to let them take these little steps giant leaps even though sometimes they’ll stumble.  We did.  Most of us turned out just fine. 

I suppose I’m just feeling a little sad I’m not of that top friends list anymore; my nephew’s world has grown that much larger.  I’m feeling sad that he didn’t go public about his new (first) girlfriend until after he locked me out, I had to hear about it from my daughter who’s still “in.”  And I’m feeling, for my sister, that mild sense of panic I felt when my own kids went to high school and everything changed.  It’s a melancholy aunt love that’s feeling both thrilled and sad about the boy she loves from the bottom of her heart who is turning into a young man, and before we know it, a man.

 

Pay attention - there's a story everywhere you go.

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