Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Italian Mother Syndrome

I worked with the funniest guy at my last job.  My friend was a middle aged Italian guy who grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  (Williamsburg is now UBER trendy which amused him.  He described it as the "armpit of the earth")  He had a lovely, but tough as nails wife and two boys. 

Listening to Ralph tell stories was like having a friend from another culture.  It was completely unlike my upbringing.  They did literally everything for their boys, provided them with every material comfort and never wanted them to move out.  They micro-managed their daily existence.  The plan was that they would live with their parents until they wanted some freedom and then they would move to the basement.    Once they got married, the son and (that bitch who married their son) would move into the basement.  After saving some money, either they or the inlaws would chip in and buy the kids a house and they would live next door.

I would make fun of my friend (to his face) all of the time.  He was too soft.  He did too much for the kids.  Give them some freedom.  The wife was too hard on the son's girlfriend.    He told me a story where if he tried to grab the last piece of chicken his wife would give him a dirty look.  Maybe one of the boys would like to eat it she would say.  There were so many funny stories that I wish I could remember because they are so relevant to what I am going through now as a parent.

I had an epiphany one night after I caught myself giving Adam the evil eye for taking extra food that I thought Henry might want.  After poor Adam had probably worked a 70 hour week.  I had to call my friend  to tell him that I now understood his wife completely.  I was sorry that I had every disagreed with anything she had ever done or said.  She was right. 

Off to find a triplex in the Brooklyn so that the kids never have to move out.

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