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Disappointed in my Millennial Kids

January 13, 2020

Could use some GW wisdom and guidance right now.

Despite my cavalier attitude in a recent conversation, or perhaps because karma's a bitch, I am going through a major skin cancer removal/healing process. Last Monday I had Mohs surgery for a basal skin cancer on my nose and as sometimes happens the cancer turned out to be much more extensive than expected. I was left with most of the skin and tissue on one nostril gone and will need a series of reconstructive surgeries; the first one took place Friday. I"m already facing several months of healing with at least one more surgery to go and if the initial process doesn't work the repair could get even more lengthy and complicated-.

I am glad the cancer is out and have great confidence in my doctors and their care. However I'm feeling very hurt that neither my son (30) nor my daughter (28) have checked in on me in any way. I sent a text with a picture of my heavily bandaged face just after the surgery and had one brief chat with each of them and one quick text message from my daughter before I had the reconstructive procedure. But since then...nothing. Not a call, not a text, complete radio silence.

In contrast everyone else in my little world has been so nice: neighbors, friends, the rest of my family have all reached out with cards, calls, even flowers. My husband who is rarely in tune with emotional intelligence ;) keeps asking me if I've heard from them yet. Answer so far: nope.

I'm certainly aware that you cannot demand that somebody care about you (well you can but it seldom ends well) but I"m also deeply bothered that neither of them seemingly could take 10 seconds to send a text ,much less pick up the phone and call.

Maybe I'm overreacting? Then again I"m not even sure what or if I should say something when they eventually do surface which I'm sure they will. What I'm afraid of is my temper when they ask me for something; right now I'm not feeling too inclined to go the extra mom mile for either one of them!

Comments (10)

  • Lukki Irish

    I’m really very sorry that you’re going through this but glad that in the end, you will be ok. I’m also glad that you still have a circle of support because that is important too.

    I can completely understand your hurt, I don’t think you’re over reacting at all and I really do understand what you’re feeling. During the journey that my husband and I have been on with his cancer, I’ve been hurt and/or disappointed many times with my DD and her husband, It wasn’t until my husband was preparing for a stem cell transplant last September (7 years) that my daughter and even most of my extended family would ever reach out to offer support. If I asked for her to help with something I would sorely regret I’d even asked.

    What I’ve come to learn though through my own experience with family is that unless they have cared for another with cancer or are up close and seeing things first hand, they really don’t get it. Cancer affects a lot more than just our physical bodies, it wreaks havoc on one’s emotions in a way that most just don’t understand. That doesn’t condone their reaction, but maybe they need a conversation by someone other than you to explain that to them. Is there anyway your husband can have a heart to heart with them?

  • Annette Holbrook(z7a)

    It may be a fear based reaction on their part. I would think that you should have a conversation and explain that you are hurt by their lack of input but that maybe it’s a good time to set up some rules in your lines of communication. My kids (now 28 and 23) were told when they left for college that I don’t want constant input but I expected to hear verbally from them once a week. Texting is great, but I need to hear the voice! Even if it’s just a quick phone call saying “checking in”. Those little check in calls have evolved into actual conversations as they’ve matured. I’d let them know that you don’t have to talk about your health necessarily but they do need to call. It would make me angry, too, don’t get me wrong. I’m just trying to think of a way to get y’all’s train back on the tracks.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    I would be disappointed and a bit hurt over such a thing too!

    Hardly anybody younger than 50 seems to make phone calls anymore. It's a thing. Maybe because they're all so busy doing other things with their phones?

    You could call them, of course...

    And I don't see any problem with expressing how you feel. You're their mom - they wouldn't be here if not for you.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    I can identify with this somewhat. My boys are 30 and 34. They haven’t quite matured to the point of moving from nuturEE to nuturER. But I think they will get there.

  • Fori

    I don't blame you.

    They are probably freaked out and scared about the whole thing but they need to grow up instead of pretending to themselves that nothing is happening. I'm guessing they've never had a scare like this before and don't know what to do. They are probably thinking about you and worried.

    It is OK for you (or your DH) to shame them. They can do better!

  • woodrose

    I think your DH needs to have a conversation with them. Not to scold them for not calling, but to ask why they haven't called, and to let them know that you are hurt by their seeming lack of concern.

    They may actually be worried about you and thinking if they don't hear from you or your DH, that you're okay.

    I'm sorry you're going through this rough time, and hope you're healed and feeling better soon.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)

    I am so sorry for all you are going through right now. I would fully expect that my child, at that age, would check in regularly especially with all you are dealing with at this point and I am feeling pretty irritated with them on your behalf!

    That said, as I have become older (67 now with a 40-year old son), I have learned that I need to ask/tell people what I need. I used to want them to figure it our-it seemed so obvious to me-ha. Sigh. I completely agree with Woodrose that your husband should have a 'chat' with both no-longer-kids. His asking you if you have heard from them makes me wonder if he already has and is checking to see if they followed though on it.

    I, for one, am not willing to excuse them on the premise that they may be fearful. Time to grow up and deal with reality like an adult.

    Maybe you could text them to say you really do want to hear their voices because this has been so rough on you and will continue to be so for a while. I do wish you as easy a road as possible.

  • nini804

    I’m not a millennial (I’m Gen x) but personally I have a habit of treating people who are going through health issues the way *I’d* want to be treated if in that situation. And I’d want people to assume I’d be ok, that it will be ok, and to not seem worried. If my friends and family were acting all concerned and treating me would definitely increase my anxiety. I’m a big fan of normalcy. So....when my dad went through lymphoma a few years ago...I consciously didn’t make his dx and treatment a big part of our normal conversations. I have come to realize that I’m being a bit selfish bc while I’m telling myself that he WANTED his normal live back and to be treated like he was perfectly normal and really was more that *I* wanted him normal and healthy and by treating him like nothing was wrong it could make *me* feel better.

    Perhaps your kids have this sort of thought process? If they do, rest assured they do care, very much. It might just be coping mechanism. They will outgrow it (I am in the process of this.)

  • runninginplace

    Thanks everyone! Your wise words are so helpful and I appreciate the well wishes too. I apologize that I’ve got 2 identically titled posts out, did one and didn’t see it come up so posted again....darn inter webs!

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    Glad you are doing ok now.

    My Mom had cancer and I had the reverse reaction - I called every day - Not to talk about "the cancer" but just to see how her day was going, to see if she ate or got out of the house - short calls sometimes, longer other times.

    I don't believe they are scared or any of the other things - they could have told your husband that so at least you would have known.

    Someone should call them out on this - not in a mean or angry way ( although I would be pissed !) but in more of a disappointing manner. It may not change how they are, but it will allow you to know that your feelings were addressed . Then when they need you or they have something going on, maybe you are too busy with your life to reach out with a kind word of support....

    Although I don't like it, get used to text messaging - it is the way the younger generation communicates and maybe that has to be good enough..

    Good health to you and good luck!

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