Monday, October 24, 2011

Snowflakes

The term 'snowflake' has been around for several years, but some people I know haven't heard the expression. Usually it's accompanied by special, or 'speshul snowflake.' The term refers to a child who is so unique that mom or dad must pave the way for the child to go through life. It is not a compliment.

As an example, the parent of a snowflake might call the teacher and say "Suzie is already burdened with homework in Mrs. Jone's class for a whole half hour each night, can you please reduce the amount of homework you send home?" Mind you, Suzie is a 7th grader and each subject should have homework every night.

You get the picture, right?

Now, imagine a college student's mom or dad making their appointments OR making appointments themselves to speak to professors or academic advisors. Yep, it happens, and far more than you would think. Mommy calls and says "Suzie needs to come see her advisor, but I'm at work until 4:30-can we have an appoinment for 5:00?"

This is not a 12 year old 7th grader, but a 20-21 year old upper classman we're talking about. There are enough of them that one has to worry what the workforce will look like in twenty years!

Though, I have to say, I am so glad that my mom and dad raised Giggles and I (mom's #7 and #8 child) to be self sufficient at a very young age. Some examples:

I learned to cook starting at 3, and made dinner nightly by the time I was 12.
I had chores like drying dishes (6), washing dishes (8), doing my own laundry (7-ish), cleaning the living room, raking leaves, mowing the lawn and shoveling snow while still in elementary school.

When I started going to the orthodontist at 10, part of the reason why we chose one locally is so that I could ride my bike to his office, which I did every month and made my appointments. (There were quite a few bikes outside his office, btw.)

When my wrist started acting up at 14, my dad took me to several doctors. The first one we saw was at a hospital that was 7 miles away. The follow up appointment conflicted with my dad's own appointment in Manhattan with an oncologist. I figured out the bus route (no Internet back then) and took two buses to get there, and then back to school.

By the time I started college, my parents had paved the way for me to chose the school, get myself there, get a job myself and do all the things a responsible adult should do.

I sometimes feel like I'm letting my kids down by doing the things that I do, but then I look at these snowflakes and realize that while I do a lot more for my kids than my parents did for me (partly because times are different), there are many more things that my 12 and 15 year old do for themselves that more than a few college juniors do not.

It's a shame that while I thanked my Mom and Dad for the things they did, I don't think I ever thanked them enough for raising us to be self-sufficient by the time we finished high school. As I look a the impending snowstorm of special snowflakes, I'm so grateful that I was handed a shovel early on and shown how to clear the path full of snow.

1 People talked back:

songbird's crazy world said...

My two are in college. They were not as independent as I would have liked when they left home, but they are both making huge strides towards adulthood. I do not want speshul snowflakes, no one could ever call me helicopter mom, and (hopefully) I won't have bridezillas on my hands in a few years.