Every October, Tasha has a board meeting in New York. I’ve gone with her every year, except for the year that I was 7 months pregnant. I love New York as much as that iconic t-shirt says. In fact, my first overnight trip away from Hugh was when he was 9 weeks old, and we went to NYC for a friend’s wedding. I remember feeling exhausted and giddy, pumping in the bathroom of a bowling alley and calling home every two hours.
This time, Hugh is almost two, but I don’t know that it’s any easier to leave him. When he was a baby, it was hard because he was so new and physically dependent on me. Now that he’s older, he can verbalize when he wants his mommy and wander around looking for me.
I attended a presentation at work the other day about managing the millennial generation or Generation Y. They are the children of baby boomers and the biggest generation yet in terms of sheer size. Positive traits of Gen Y-ers include being imaginative, technologically savvy, and collaborative. But the negative traits associated with this generation are laziness, entitlement and delayed entry into adulthood.
Gen Y was the generation raised by the baby boomers, the parents who put stickers on the backs of their cars with the words: “baby on board.” The parents who told their kids over and over again how special they were. The parents/teachers/coaches who gave a trophy, a prize, a ribbon to everyone, just for playing. And guess what? The kids believed it.
It’s not that I yearn for the days of Betty Draper parenting: “Stop crying, Sally, go to your room. And mix me a drink first.” But in this world of hovering, over-scheduled, over-purchased, hyper linked-in parenting, maybe it’s not a bad thing to disappear for a few days.
Hugh is Generation Z, and it remains to see how that generation will be defined. All I can offer to my little Z is to be the best parent I know how to be, which is nurturing but also imperfect and independent. As Hugh gets older, maybe we’ll take him on our trips to New York. Or maybe these October trips will always be for us, and we’ll find another way to introduce him to the city. Like the Macy’s Day Parade.