A Note to My Parents: That’s Some Cold Shit

“Your Grandmother wants you to move back to Central New York. She thinks you can find a job in Syracuse or something”

“WHAT?! First of all that is crazy talk. Central New York is the most economically depressing and subsequently emotionally depressing area of the country I’ve ever seen. Secondly, I love Austin and I’ve made a great life for myself. Why does she want me to move back? Because she misses me or because she thinks I can’t take care of myself?”

“Well, we worry about you becoming a vagabond. You know….”


“We just don’t want you to become a certain 56 year-old man that we know.”

“57, Mom.”

“He’s not 57.”

“Yes, he is. He was born two years before you.”



“Well, I’ve been not married to your father more than I was married to him, so how the hell should I know?”

“Dad really enjoys his life. Yes, he’s maybe had two wives, lived in seven different states, had thirty different jobs, and thirty-five cars, and now he’s an actor in Los Angeles, but he’s happy!”


Then the tiniest sigh.

From both of us.

This conversation came only a few weeks after a text message appeared across my phone that said “I have these visions of you being alone for the rest of your life- Your Father”.

What is it with parents and their uncontrobable urge to verbally explain their fears of us becoming Little Edie? I don’t want them to roll their eyes and suggest otherwise when I tell them that I’m moving into a cockroach infested loft in a new city of my choosing. Naysaying will only question my steadfast validity in the decision at the time, and I don’t want that. Keep your dreams of the white picket fence to yourself!

I like my hubcap-less car, my unbrushed hair, my wrinkly dresses, and my like for what you call, “depressing noise that all sounds alike.” Beach House is not depressing. They’re uplifting and poignant.
Just when I had to get over my own insecurities about not being a “career professional” with a “small mortgage” or “permanent apartment situation” with a “long-term significant other” or at least “a cat”, my parents have to randomly call or text me to share their suffocating fear of the moment.
“Lauren! I was just washing the car and I have to tell you, I worry about your choice in men. You seem to go after men like your father and I understand that you never really dealt with his leaving and all…”
“Hey, Mom. I’m on the can, I’ll call you later.”
“Ok, I just had to tell you. Let’s talk more about this later. “
Mom, Dad, I love you and you guys are my best buds. However, talking to your daughter about your concerns for your daughter is not wise. I had to down three shots of tequila in a row last night just to get over the recommendation to move back to New York. You will push me to drink and I will ultimately have to go to a therapist (again) and constantly blame you for everything (again).
“I knew this was going to happen! This always happens! You move in, she goes. You move in, she goes.” Rob Gordon’s Mom says to him after his girlfriend moves out in “High Fidelity”.

“Shut up Mom! That’s some cold shit!” Is all Rob can muster up in return.

Aren’t we all just a misunderstood Rob Gordon?
Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Allison April 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I love that part in High Fidelity! Parents think they're offering support by expressing concern, but it just stresses us out!

    I think it's hard for their generation to understand some of us rejecting the white picket fence. The fence was the dream for them, I guess. We're rejecting the dream! How dare we!

    Some people just have to find their own way. It doesn't mean it's wrong, just different.

  • Reply IT April 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    …and the irony is that this same thing is expressed generation after generation.
    Another irony is that if I was asked what I want to be when I grow up, I still wouldn't have an answer.
    Here's to livin' large until my eighth birthday next week.

  • Reply Linda April 2, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    this hit home. i also would like you to know that this week, i've emailed 3 of your entries to my best friend.

    i like.

    even if it's redundant a little, i have to say. i love your entries about your family.

  • Reply Tocalabocina April 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    My mother gifted me with an old black and white, leather bound photo album a few years ago. It featured the faces of a bunch of wealthy Austrians that apparently played some part in my genetic makeup. As she gave it to me she said "you can show this to your kids someday…or your – I don't know – dogs."

  • Reply John April 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    "You move in, she goes. You move in, she goes!!"

    so good!

  • Reply RoSe April 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Hmmm, my Mom used to be the same way.. constantly rolling my eyes in response it went n one ear and out the other, now I'm her age and shes got A-timers so fierce she barely can remember who I am when i call.
    And speaking from experience, everything from picket fences to small mortgages are not what they are built up to be, I would trade my life in a h-beat for a better offer.
    …and prolly keep my cat.

  • Reply inflammatory writ April 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I've learned to just laugh at my parents when they do stuff like that.

    Several years ago, my father got out of rehab for alcoholism, and the first thing he did was call his 22 year old daughter and tell her he was "concerned about her life choices". Why? I was dating an older man and I was a theater major. I am now married to said man and I am a playwright. That's not good enough, however, since my mom pesters me constantly about having kids.

    It's never going to be enough unless we fulfill their unrealized dreams, and if we actually did that, they'd be jealous. No win!

  • Reply Katie April 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My mom calls about once every six weeks to completely flip out on me because I don't live in Texas (I live in Oregon) and she's never going to see her grandchildren. Keep in mind, I don't have kids. It's not even on the plate for discussion.

    Parents are insane. I've given up on trying to make mine see reason.

  • Reply Mike H. Miller April 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Sometimes all you can do is scream "WOO!" and make a crazy face like when the warm water cuts out on your shower. That's when I try to remember that once, not so long ago, all showers were cold. And one had to go out and adventure through unfamiliar territory if one ever dreamt of bathing in hot springs… So… You know, just… It's all a racket to get you to buy soap. Our generation knows it doesn't need that much soap. Just give it some time, keep up the good fight. I think our parents really need our encouragement right now in this difficult time for them. On some level we are witnessing their world coming to an end. Or at least their traditional adult world.

  • Reply Anthony April 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Mine have some sort of good apathy. Then again I am a guy but they don't really care anymore what I do, as long as it's what I want to do.

    I think years of passively aggressively trying to get me to do things that ended up failing has been enough for them.

  • Reply Benny Paul April 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    OK this is weird… Just 2 days ago, my dad told me he was afraid of me being alone, and told me about a bunch of Jewish girls who live in my hometown.
    It was the first time he'd done that in ages. Uncanny.
    What's weird about the generation born in the later '40s-'50s is that they experienced the '60s but it seems like it wasn't until "Generation X" that things like "finding yourself" and "taking it as it comes" became as common and accepted as they are today.
    I also still meet plenty of younger people who are not into lifestyles that I'd thought had achieved mainstream acceptance… Sometimes I think the world has always been divided into uptight people and more open people and that there's never been any genuine "generation gap"…

  • Reply Kati April 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    no no no. Emphatically. CNY is a vortex of quicksand and you will surely get sucked in and never see the light of day again. You'll need serious Prozac and a fail proof escape plan to venture back here, and even then you'll find yourself clawing your way out until your nails are dirty little stubs. Stay in Austin or wherever your heart wants to be.

    P.S. (sorry, Lauren's family.)
    P.P.S. <3 beach house!
    P.P.P.S. I think Mike Miller might be a genius…am I allowed to say that? I don't know, it's the CNY talking.

  • Reply Nikki April 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    yes yes yes and yes. soooo there.

  • Reply Heidi April 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    @ Magpie … I like your therapist.

    As a mother of a 29, 27 and soon to be 24 year old .. I want to apologize to all kids, oops, young adults everywhere for our parental insanity. Only until we parents have done our own work, yes in therapy, will we finally understand how completely crippling our anxiety can be to our children. Yes indeed, crippling.

    These are not our lives to live, they are our children's. And while these are our children, they are adult people. I keep having to remind my husband what he had when he was thirty…. which was pretty much nothing! THAT'S when things started happening for him and not before. So….. leave the kids alone!!!

    This from a mother who has learned how to step back and sit tight, and love anyway.

    Great post Lauren.

  • Reply Layla Winterborne April 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    High Fidelity is my life through the eyes of a dude.

    I totally understand where you're going with this. And, at least you have a car…my parents were horrified when I told them that I gave up my car for an electric scooter and bus fares on rainy days.

    Oh god…and I can't tell you their utter ELATION when I told them that I landed a job at a law firm. Jeez…I get to wear what I want…that was incentive enough for me to say yes to that. Not OMG I'm so grown up now.

  • Reply AURORA MEGAN April 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    My parents aren't as worried as my friends are.
    I once had a friend promise me that she'd buy me a cat one day so I didn't die alone.


  • Reply Langley April 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Gah, parents, eh?

    They're always intruding when they've fucked up a hellova a lot more than we ever did.

  • Reply Mr London Street April 2, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I've got Beach House's first record. I'm not sure I'd describe it as uplifting, but it's very relaxing to fall asleep to. Hmm. Can you fall asleep to uplifting music? Not sure. It would be like napping to the Vengaboys, so maybe not.

    Very nice post. My parents worried about me for years. I think my mother would have given me away to a woman free with a packet of Corn Flakes if it would have helped.

  • Reply CTRL + ♥ April 3, 2010 at 12:31 am

    hey! wow sounds pretty freggin toughhh.
    i dont think its a lot about generations, i just think it's like, a fear of the bad unknown
    they have tendencies to ONLY think about what BAD things can happen to you. they get caught up in it and, especially for me,

    it's always been up to ME to find the good side of things and to be able to think about all the wonderful things that can happen

    that being said, they know this. and to stop us from being completely naive, they do what they do best and drag us down, not so much to whatever bad's going on, but to reality.

    they do it harshly because they care & dont want you to miss opportunities while your heads in the clouds — cause if they did that too they'd probably miss some of the bad things too and would feel terrible if it was their fault we werent warned.

    like, if when we were learning how to walk, they got caught up in where you were going, and not that you could fall..

    we'd all be really stupid from hitting our heads on the ground over and over.


    hope you feel better soon.

    muchlove, xx.
    ♥ ctrlove.blogspot.com

  • Reply Christine Macdonald April 3, 2010 at 12:34 am

    There is nothing more pungent than that of our parent's projection. Austin loves you. I am happy to read this post as it shows you are your own person. xxoo

  • Reply Willy April 3, 2010 at 12:36 am

    'rents, what can i say….love them since I won't have much more time with them….

    Thanks for the mention about Beach House 9 always looking for new music), I love 'em!

    and since following your blog, I've added Austin to my list of places to visit, so thanks for that as well.

  • Reply TabithaVenasse April 3, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Gosh, I can relate so much. The amount of times my parents make comments about how they think I'm gonna fail, or how they're terrified I'll turn out like people they know who have nothing in life, or how I'll get fat and never be happy… it just beats down on me.

    I often wonder if they really realize just how much of a negative impact that type of thinking out loud has on us.

  • Reply Krystal April 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

    thanks for the tip on that phone app…it is pretty cool! may or may not have spent A LOT of time taking pics with it last night 🙂

  • Reply kellywanhainen April 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    i can't get enough of your stories and your writing style. you're hilarious! but, in regards to moving: DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! (easier said than done, right?) families mean well, but sometimes they don't realize what they're saying is hurtful. have a WONDERFUL weekend!

  • Reply withthejoneses April 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    This post was very poignant! I love the phone conversations, very funny stuff.

  • Reply birdykins April 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    First, anyone that quotes High Fidelity is already +50 awesome points in my book.

    Second, be a vagabond. It's the dream life. All these people who say otherwise are just locked in their lifestyles and can't see the beauty of it.

    Third, marry me?

  • Reply Apryl April 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    High Fidelity=Best Movie EVER.

    Little Latin Loopy Lou.

    Anyway, my family does the same thing. Points out all I do wrong and where I've scrweed up ad nauseum. Like I need a reminder.

    They could point out the good stuff, but that's what friends are for, not family apparently.

  • Reply Colleen April 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    This was too funny. Do your parents know that over 1100 people read your words everyday? Maybe blogging isn't a full time job that will pay the mortgage you don't have and support the cat you don't want (you don't really want a cat, right?), but that's impressive. I, for one, approve your life choices.

  • Reply The Life Addict April 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I am absolutely 100% in love with John Cusack..you are my hero for posting his picture, muah!

  • Reply Jocelyn Ehnstrom April 21, 2010 at 4:50 am

    I stumbled upon your blog, but to offer some validation from a stranger, CNY will kill your soul!
    Stay away and live in Austin as long as possible

  • Reply Kathryn May 31, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Yeah my parents just bought me two baby apple trees for "when I have a house someday." They'll need to be planted in a few years and I currently make so little money I can barely afford rent in a town home with two other people. Not to mention the fact that I have nary a clue as to what I want to be or where I want to end up. But now I feel like I have to figure all that out within two years time or two baby trees will go without a home. Thanks parents!

  • Leave a Reply