Monthly Musing – January 2022 – “When I was your age …”

“When I was your age …”

It’s a conversation I’m having quite a lot with my girls at the moment, and not necessarily in that leaning back, arms folded, “the world was a better place” kind of way.  It’s been more of a trading of experiences, and because there’s quite a big age gap between my girls, there’s even been a bit of it between them too.

It’s been really interesting to watch the way a subject has grown to encompass all three of our experiences – four if my husband is in the conversation and it’s something that he’s experienced too.  It adds colour and dimension to the subject and we’ve all learnt something new.

I love chatting like this with my girls and I’m delighted that they still want to talk to me and I haven’t been relegated to the category of only being grunted at, or told when someone is going out.  It feels like a rare and precious thing, probably because I know that these kinds of conversations with my Mum were a rare and precious thing, given my quicksilver teenage moods!

I think most of all, I am learning to really listen to them and not assume that because I am the adult and have been around longer that I know all the answers and that my experience in the world means I am always right.  There are times when one or other of my girls will say something and I’ll think, “Yes, you’re right, I wish I’d known that then”, or “I should have said that instead of what I did say!” and I wonder who I would have been now if I had done that at the time.  Someone different, perhaps, because we are all the sum of our experiences, but I wouldn’t really want to change who I am now so perhaps it’s as well that I didn’t.

“When I was your age” has become an information resource in our house.  A living encyclopaedia of all of our experiences, some of which haven’t changed too much such as social interactions at school and others which are so vastly different like chatting to a friend at any time of the night or day from a small device in the palm of your hand (and yes, we’ve had words about the “any time of the night” bit!).  And yet, there’s a theme that runs through so many of our conversations which no years have altered.  Kindness, respect, friendship, love, family … no matter what might change on the outside, that part of “when I was your age” remains the same.

I am quite sure that one day in the future, my girls will have similar conversations with their own children and grandchildren and I hope that they appreciate the different perspectives that will be brought to their discussions.  Whatever age we are, the world is the world that we live in and whilst the past might have a rosy glow, the future can be just as bright.

 

Three mugs on a wooden dining table - left is a turquoise mug with a camper van on it, middle is large white mug with an orange band and the words Yoga, Tea, Naps, and the third is an orange mug with a white sheep's face on it. In front of the mug are three round chocolate biscuits

 

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10 Responses

  1. Susan Rayner says:

    A lovely musing! Sadly chats like that were unheard of “when I was younger”. We never really talked to our parents back in the 50s and 60s and unlike today couldn’t wait to leave home and be independent even if that meant a grotty bedsit, shared bathroom and a hotplate to cook on! We often only really wanted to talk when it was almost too late – or actually too late! Keep chatting – it is something many people will wish they had done!

    • winwickmum says:

      I don’t remember many chats with my parents like this either so it’s felt really important to speak to my girls. We don’t have to continue the traditions we grew up with, do we?! xx

  2. Geeha says:

    It took our sons to leave home before they realised that we could talk without us imposing our views on them, perhaps because we were Christians and I was a civil servant and their Dad a police sergeant they assumed we had conventional attitudes and wouldn’t listen. Now we can discuss anything. My Mum was taught 5 year-olds between 1948 and 1983 and treated the family as she did her pupils. In addition I look just like her so was expected to do and think as she did, I still feel her critical presence 15 years after her death. So glad your family have such a positive healthy relationship.

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s funny, isn’t it, how we get stuck in the moment with our parents when they left us when in actual fact, they may well have softened or changed their views in the intervening years. I chat to my Mum (long-gone) about all kinds of things that we would never have spoken about when she was alive and I wonder if we would have had those conversations now. I am glad you have great conversations with your boys now! xx

  3. Making memories to add to the ‘Back in my day’ stockpile. 🙂

  4. Sue Draper says:

    What a lovely musing! I didn’t have those conversations with my Mum because she died when I was young, but I made sure that I always had genuine sharing of views with my children. I remember sitting with my Grandad when I was in my teens, and he told me about when he was my age he lied about his age and joined the army to fight on the Somme. It was the only time I saw him cry, and it had a profound effect on me. It certainly stopped me from complaining about being expected to do chores at home.

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m sorry you lost your Mum so early. So many young men joined up before they were supposed to because they thought it was the right thing to do – how differently we see it all now. Your Grandad will have seen so many things at a young age that nobody is ever supposed to, and I am sorry for that too. I am glad that you’re able to chat with your children, I think it’s a wonderful thing on all sides! xx

  5. Barbara says:

    I’m sure you’ll be part of conversations for many years to come. I love my chats with my sons about everything and anything..we have always talked as equals, each with things to give and things to learn. All so rewarding. B x

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