I belong to a Facebook group--OK, “several” Facebook groups. Some are church related (ELCA Youth Ministry Network), some pertain to my writing career (the infamous Binders groups-my favorite being the useful, but awkwardly titled, “Binders Full of Editors Seeking Their Freelance Writers and Vice-Versa”). One group I really should exit at this point is Grown and Flown Parents. This is a group for parents of teens and young adults; most of my offspring are aging out of the “young adult” category-and I haven’t had a teen in eons. This group (150,000 strong—you read that right) HAS OPINIONS, on everything from going to bat for your 18 year old with the principal (uh, no) to Spring Break treks to Florida in the time of coronavirus (uh, double no), and so on. Some of these earnest moms and dads are helicopter or lawn mower parents (they hover, or they make the path ahead clear for their darlings). Since many posts garner hundreds of comments, it would take hours a day to do this group justice, so I don’t.
But one tidbit I did pick up: it is a thing to track your children. There is something called Life360, which apparently can pinpoint their location, even many miles away. So if you’re not interested in Colbert’s monologue tonight, you can tune in instead to the college town’s dive bar, where Junior is hanging out when he should be snug in his dorm. I’m hazy on some of the details (perhaps not as hazy as Junior after several hours at the bar), but I think both parent and child have to have this device for it to work, right? And kids who don’t want to be tailed can just turn it off? Ah, but then they face The Grand Inquisition by Mom Who Was Worried Sick, so I think most of them keep it on. I’m told it is for “peace of mind” but honestly? When my kids were in college, my peace of mind came from NOT knowing exactly what they were up to. I could then fall into a sound sleep, imagining them all snug in their various dorms.
When I am curious about their comings and goings, I have a couple of options. One is Venmo, another puzzling piece of technology. All I know is that I can see every pizza, movie and Lyft ride Rose and Julie borrowed money from each other for. For a while it seemed they were just trading the same $10 back and forth. Another is pix posted on Instagram (by my girls at least) of this birthday bash or that concert. But for the most part I can plead ignorance of their agendas, and that’s fine by me.
I have enough to worry about keeping track of my own life, without playing dime store detective with my kids. I don’t suspect criminal activity among the Seyfried sibs (but if you see something, say something!) so this mom’s helicopter has landed. Sweet dreams!