I have a confession. I have become what I once avoided. And the worst part? It's not even my first offence.
It all began back in March 1993. Up until that time, I had endured numerous friends inundating me with photos of their children. I politely listened to friends and coworkers brag about every single accomplishment their child made. I actually sought out new friendships with people who didn’t have children, just so I didn’t have to politely pretend I was as over-the-moon as the proud, bragging parents.
That all changed when we were blessed with our first child. I couldn’t help myself. It was great in the beginning, as I think people were genuinely happy for us and interested in what our child was up to. But I noticed after a while that it was getting harder and harder to maintain an audience. I found myself shamelessly chasing coworkers down the hallway shouting “Wait…you didn’t see this photo of him drooling while he chews on a teething ring?!”
It only got worse as time went on. I think I hit rock bottom when I shared photos of his first potty-training, proudly announcing my boy made a "boom-boom." Friends didn’t call as often and I realized I had a problem.
What do you do when you finally come to terms with the fact that you may have become an unfavourable entity? You seek a support group, of course.
Our support group was comprised of many other parents. Over the years, we shared parenting tips, enrolled our children in activities together and turned to each other in times of frustration. Our support group became our social circle and, over time, some of our dearest friends. Of course, as our children aged, less support was needed because much had already been taught. Eventually, as our children became adults, we were cured of being those annoying parents.
At least that’s what I thought – until I became a grandparent.
I never thought I’d be viewed as a pariah again, yet here I am. You know how if you’ve had chickenpox, you are susceptible to contracting shingles? Likewise, if you’ve ever been an overly annoying proud parent, you are susceptible to becoming something even worse: the proud, overly annoying grandparent. Symptoms of this condition include texting every contact in your phone with your grandchild’s latest accomplishment, sending unsolicited photos and videos and, of course, the unavoidable search for a captive audience to share in your delight.
Despite my ability to recognize my problem, I don’t even try to curb my behaviour. It’s a sickness that I’m told there is no pill for. Apparently, I can’t be helped unless I actually want to be helped, and thus far, I have no desire to change.
I’m wondering what my inevitable rock bottom will be this time and when it will eventually present itself. I know potty-training videos probably won’t be appreciated, so what proud moment will be the reason society inevitably alienates me? I may have to look for a support group. Until then, please pray for me.