I learned in my mid-twenties that growing up and acting like an adult was hard. I’m sure you’ve heard that hindsight is twenty-twenty. I took that to heart several years back when I decided not to lie to my mom.
I was a pretty crazy college kid. I didn’t want anyone (mostly my parents) telling me what to do. I left home for college in September and did not want to look back. College was extreme freedom for me. My parents didn’t let my brother or I do much of anything. We didn’t have sleepovers. We didn’t join extracurriculars. We didn’t go on field trips. I know a lot of that had to do with my mom’s culture and her own upbringing. Some of it had to do with the fact that we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on extra things — we were a one-income household. The rest of it had to do with my dad agreeing to whatever my mom said (or didn’t say).
I did this, that, and the other thing in college. I met a lot of boys (most of whom my parents didn’t meet), and I fell in love with my husband. I hardly talked to my parents through college. I just didn’t want to deal with the lectures and the yelling and the heartache. It was easier to ignore them and maybe talk to them when the occasion permitted. It was also easier to lie to them instead of tell them what I was really up to every day. They didn’t know I smoked (although my mom did eventually find a pack of cigarettes when I was home visiting once). They didn’t know I slept over at my boyfriend’s and had him sleep over (then boyfriend/now husband). They didn’t know I bought a puppy until I brought him home to visit them one weekend. (They didn’t ask what happened to him when I stopped bringing him home on those rare visits.) When they did ask about things, I didn’t have much to tell.
Mom: “Where were you last night? I tried to call. I left you a message.”
Me: “What? When? I don’t know. I didn’t get your message.”
TRANSLATION: “Oh, right. My roommates let the answering machine pick up since they saw your number on the caller ID. I was at my boyfriend’s last night.”
Mom: “Are you coming home this weekend? Why not? What are you doing?”
Me: “No, I can’t. I need to study a lot.”
TRANSLATION: “No, I’m not coming home. We’re having a party tonight, so I can’t come home. Kegger!”
Mom: “It’s about time you called. What have you been doing?”
Me: “I know. I’ve been busy… What are you doing?”
TRANSLATION: “I know. I haven’t called because I’ve been partying way too much and not doing enough studying. Plus I knew you would just ask me tons of questions and I would just have to lie.”
Nope, not much to tell at all. I would usually just lie and make something up or tell my parents what I thought they wanted to hear. Or, I would just lie by omission. I chalked it all up to little white lies — they wouldn’t hurt anyone. Well, I finally grew a conscience (a mature, adult conscience) and decided that even little white lies do hurt. I knew it would kill my parents to know every last detail, but I decided after I was married and after having a child of my own that my parents deserved to know the truth. I wouldn’t lie to them. I wouldn’t lie to anyone. The truth might hurt, but it will also set you free. I know it did me. I hope I can teach my daughter this as well. I don’t care if the truth is stupid or hurtful or sad — just give it to me straight. I’ll do the same for you.
Inspired by the Daily Prompt.