I realize that this is not big news. Most of us Gen X-ers (ew) have embraced the fact that our parents have joined the E-parade, if only to keep up with our speedy lives and to feel like they’re in touch, rather than having to nudge us with a long voicemail message, group texts that include a random aunt, or blank ones with a mysterious letter “H.”
My mother was on Facebook briefly, about three years ago, before her account got hacked, rendering her profile forever frozen in time. So now Ema (Mom, in Hebrew) actually has two Facebook profiles, which is kind of amazing, even if she doesn’t know how she did it.
When she was on Facebook the first time, the Good Jewish (Divorced) Girl in me didn’t like it. Before posting a picture (nine out of ten were at a bar) I’d have to go home, send the files to my laptop, and crop out the martini in my hand, resulting in an array of posts where I look suspiciously joyous, a bright spark in my eyes and a becoming flush in my cheeks, the evidence amputated. If you’re thinking, “Why should an adult woman care what her mother thinks?” it means you’re not Jewish (or Catholic). Guilt does not need to be delivered in person to have its intended effect.
[For those of you who are just meeting Ema for the first time, there is proof of Mom as “The Alcohol Police” in this post, where you can also see the Jewish Mother’s breathalyzer test in full effect].
I knew Mom just wanted to “keep in touch” but to me it was synonymous with “keeping tabs.” There is an ironic generational reversal here that is worth mentioning. Mom’s today who are my peers; my friends, sisters, and the thousands of “Mommy Bloggers” who are savvy digital pros unlike our Mom’s were, are “keeping tabs” on their own children’s online activities with apps called Mama Bear which advertise “worry-free parenting.” If only there had been a “worry-free partying” app for single divorcees back when I was one.
But this time when Mom joined Facebook, her loving face made me smile and I friended her happily, even though I was the eighteenth person she invited in, trailing behind cousins as far away as Israel and my two sisters (the neglected middle child syndrome never goes away). And when Mom emailed me shortly after with a question: “U were tagged in u picture ?” it didn’t bother me that I did not know what picture she was referring to. And when Facebook asked me to help my mother find her friends, I knew she’d be fine on her own. After all, she’d managed to create two profiles.
I’m glad to see my Mom on Facebook, not because I’ve suddenly grown up and grown out of the Jewish guilt garb, but because I have nothing to hide. I don’t drink that much anymore (I promise, Ema!) and when I do, it doesn’t matter. Somehow, being married, happy, and settled is like a magical guilt slayer. Also, Mom has read my entire blog from its inception (when she didn’t know what a Cougar – or a blog- was), up until my most recent post about going to Church. If she’s okay with that, I’m okay with her commenting on my wall in Momlish.
But Instagram and Twitter? I might need to find an Ema-Bear app for that.