The Sky Has Fallen and I With It
Oh, don't mind me. I'm just sitting here, sobbing my stupid face off until it's unrecognizable. Facial features are so five minutes ago. What's that? Yes, everything is fine, everything is perfection. I'm just dealing with my child growing up and inevitably leaving me forever. No big deal.
It's hard to lay this kind of claim on a child who doesn't live here, but I am equal parts sneaky, talented, and self-absorbed, so claim it I fucking will.
There is nothing more depressing than your 11-year old child friending you on Facebook. The minute I saw the monster's name within that Facebook blue, I felt something important shift. Not within (emotionally) or outside (spiritually) -- more like a tearing of the fabric of humanity, and a rip in the space-time continuum. Now I imagine we'll say next year, 'Hey, remember that fun social networking shit we did before the fetuses joined?'
Apparently the monster is defying orders, because his father doesn't want him on Facebook. In the monster's own words: "Daddy would severely freak out." Not wanting to be that kind of Facebook-freak-out parent, I sought to find a more legitimate-sounding reason to keep him from joining, but there was none. That's a fantasy. He's already joined.
The main reasons I object to this new development:
1) I found it first! Dibs on Twitter, too.
2) Friending your mom when you're in 5th grade just doesn't seem very cool to me.
3) It's more age-appropriate for me. For now.
4) Just because you're old enough to socialize on Facebook, doesn't mean you should socialize on Facebook with your parent at 11 years old. I'm friends with parents of pals on Facebook, but we're all adults who have socialized in person. Like adults do. Without children.
5) I want it more. I've trained.
These rules change in two years when I morph into a watchdog. All I ask is for a couple more years of childhood smoke and mirrors, where he doesn't want a cell phone, doesn't meet a girl I'll never approve of, and doesn't worry about status updates or the pressing question of why storing a lifetime of his tweets at the Library of Congress is relevant to humankind.
I don't want that first time of realizing he's lied, like really, really lied to me. I don't want the arguing that naturally happens between a woman losing her baby and her enormous, 13-year old baby. I don't want to be the police, or the embarrassment, or the enemy. I want us to be buddies for a little while longer. Just not on Facebook.
I want to hold his hand in public and hear him say 'I love you' without rolling his eyes. I want to skip the years where I might be invisible, or the greatest ever, or a mess. Right when this mom audition ends is when I will probably lose him. That's what happens: they go. And if you're lucky, they come back.
All this from a Facebook friend request. Well, two actually - I ignored his first one (and also the second). Don't think that won't keep me up at night. That's like therapy-in-waiting.
I'm not ready. It's like virginity and marriage and giving birth and torrents: you don't know what it's like until it's happening to you. It's like that horrible PUFF in your eye appointments. You're waiting, waiting, waiting, squinting, being admonished, wai--PUFF!!! Blink, blink, tear. Then you pull away from the creepy ocular device, and your only child is joining Facebook and then getting married.
I don't hate getting older, myself, at least not every day. It's when the monster ages, I get weird. Being on Facebook makes me accessible to him in a way my parents weren't to me, and older somehow, a fact that completely melts my brain.
I don't know what I'm angry about. I'm half-amused, half-pissed. It would be just as weird to see my kid on Twitter. It's not that I feel it's adults-only, but eleven years on planet Earth isn't all that long. I don't want him to be inundated by the eternal Internet, by the connection that keeps us all locked in an electronic embrace. I want him to meet other kids - real, live ones - and go play outside - actual nature, not a PvE - and skin his knees and eat ice cream sandwiches.
I don't want to know what kind of cocktail he is, who he's killed in Mafia Wars, who's slutty picture he 'Likes.' I don't want to know what he's doing at school or thinking at night; I want him to know my eyes are elsewhere, so he can go be whoever he is. I can shape him in other ways - but for now, I can't do Facebook. I'll obsess, and want to know who his friends are, who he's flirting with, what he's posting, why he's angry. I should just ask him, and get to know my kid in real life. Facebook shouldn't have to bridge that gap for me.
Or perhaps I'm getting old, and should just - as my dad once said in a hippie voice which was so uncool and yes, I was totally mortified - "chill out, man." In two years, I'm going to want this, and he'll have blocked me from his friend list. Being a parent fucking sucks! Sometimes, I mean. Sometimes, it's like lose-lose city.
I've been on Blogher for a couple of years, but never actually used it. I'll attempt to post here the stuff that can also be found on my blog at http://www.sn0tty.com.