Orange you happy

I took an invigorating 2.5-mile walk with Rigby today, in the bitter cold.  We were both bundled up, so we didn’t feel the frigid temperature.  (Actually, I have no idea whether Rigby felt it, but he didn’t seem to mind, maybe because he’s a dog.)

We were out for over four hours, which gave me  a chance to clear my head before it gets crowded with a gazillion details once the “work week” begins.

We walked most of the way on Madison Avenue so I could window shop, one of my favorite pastimes (at least on Madison Avenue, it is.) I noticed a preponderance of orange on the clothes the mannequins modeled in the windows: Orange with purple, orange with red, orange with green, or orange all alone. Bright, clear orange is my favorite color.  Actually, my youngest sister adopted it as her trademark color long before I did.  Although orange has been showing up all over the fashion industry for a few years now, it seems bigger than ever, maybe because it’s a happy color.  And we all need as much happy as we can get.

A man I overheard talking on the phone, in the shoe department at Bergdorf Goodman, could have used a dose of orange.

“What do I want?” he said to the person on the other end, sounding somewhat agitated.  “What I want is to find out if you’re okay, if you’re alive, if you need anything,” he said, immediately after repeating the question the person on the other end had obviously asked.

“Why can’t you just ask me when I call: ‘How are you doing, dad?’ Why do you always assume I want something?” he said to his child (I couldn’t tell if he was talking to a boy or a girl child, but it really doesn’t matter.  They’re all generally the same when it comes to their complete and utter inability to understand that their parents are people with feelings, that their parents care about them more than anything in the world and really do like to know how they’re doing.)  Our kids don’t care how we’re doing.  We’re irritating them with our calls and that’s that.

A close FOF friend has given up calling her 26-year-old son, a graduate student, because he never answers his phone.  So she’s decided to just text him, his preferred mode of communication. “I swear he wouldn’t know if I was dead as long as someone kept making believe she was his mother and continued texting. “This could go on for years if he didn’t come home for the holidays,” she said.  “Even then he might not notice.”

Orange is a hot trend now.  Kids who hate to talk to their parents on the phone don’t constitute a trend. They’re a fact of life. By the time they’re FOF, most of them start to develop feelings for us.  Hopefully, we’ll all live that long!







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25 Responses to “Orange you happy”

  1. suzq says:

    This responding was very helpful and I would like more feedback. I too am a therapist, but am lamenting the type of comunication from my children, more so one in particular. Because I have heard similar stories from young adults in my practice, I have always opted to give my children a wide berth to become their own individual selves, which was fine when they were coming home on a regular basis, but now they they are spread out over the universe, I wonder if I gave them too wide of a berth. I feel it is a parent’s responsibility to know when they are being too intrusive and a helicopter parent, but I also feel that it is an adult child’s responsibililty to know when it is merely common courtesy to check on the people who gave them life, as well as financial and emotional support. I certainly didn’t want to always be checking on my mother when I was in my twenties, until it occured to me (later in life)that it might be the last time I get that opportunity, given her age. And even more to the point now that my father (greatest man ever) has already passed away.

  2. Turning FOF: 50 Things Every Woman Show Have and Know | Fab Over Fifty Blog says:

    […] When to leave her children alone […]

  3. Norma says:

    I guess I’m just lucky that my adult kids and I still love to talk to each other on the phone. Five kids from 21 to 45 and not a week goes by that either I get a phone call or I call them. Sometimes just to say”Hi, I love you”, usually longer actual conversations. Even my daughter who is currently living overseas calls and we chat over hours at a time. They’re all strong independent adults, but we’ve always had open communication and it continues. Maybe it’s just strong family enjoyed the blog and it just reinforces ties and mutual respect. Enjoyed the blog, just reinforced how blessed I am. Orange is not great on me, but daughter (age 40) looks great in it. Always one of her favorite colors to wear.

  4. Karen says:

    LOL, xo <3, love u, ttyl, nvm, :), :D, :P, 🙂 …in some form or other are always in my texting conversations with my 19, 21 and 23 year old kids (always a love you in some form in closing…and always a love you at the end of any coveted call!) Gotta "go with the flow" and it works for us.

    In any case, I LOVE orange…and teal, purple, red, gold! I even wore all of those colors in one outfit yesterday and it worked 🙂 So happy to see happy colors back in fashion…I have never given in to all black or white or sullen greys and beige or monochromatic hues…even in my home decor!

  5. Charlotte says:

    I’m 26 and my mom’s phone calls are pretty intense. She always launches into these LOOOOOOOONG stories. It takes her ages to get to the point because she wants to “set the scene”…and sometimes she uses different voices if she’s repeating something that someone else said. The whole time I’m all like GET TO THE POINT!

    If I could get her to text me…that would be rad. I think I will make this my next project…

    • geri says:


      your mother sounds hysterical (in a funny sense). I love the different voices. Texting just ain’t the same!


      • Charlotte says:

        Hahah I know what you’re saying! I think I would be sad if I didn’t get at least one crazy story a week….but I would fall off of my chair if i got her to send me an OMG LOL XOXO every now and then…

  6. says:

    The Pantone Company has selected “Tangerine Tango” as the color of the year for 2012. I’m headed out tomorrow for an orange scarf 🙂

  7. ambianz says:

    All you mothers, GET OVER IT!!! Don’t you see that you are the problem, not your adult children! Clearly you don’t see that your expectations are the issue. If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed.
    I’m a licensed psychotherapist, my clients are the age of your children, I’m 61 but am a non parental adult. I see YOUR kids in their twenties and thirties plus coming in to therapy to deal with their parent issues.
    If you want your kids to be fully productive, active members of society you must let go, and don’t be attached to the outcome. Let them go into the world and find their own way, not your way, or what you expect from them. Let them make their own mistakes, let them stumble and fall and get up on their own without YOUR help. This is character building. If you are always letting them know there is a safety net to catch them, how can they hold their heads up high and know they did it on their own? Our generation did this. Who do you think you are to take this very important developmental task away from your adult children? Give them space, let them go, then–when they are ready, they will come back–as fully functioning adults. What to do instead with all your anxiety about your kids?
    Look at your own life and what you have not lived and satisfied and fulfilled within yourself, then you can deal with your unfulfilled expectations and take the heat off your kids to fulfill this for you.

    • Terry Peters says:

      “All you mothers, GET OVER IT!!!”

      Wow, got some projection going there? You don’t need to identify yourself as a “non parental adult;” that’s obvious. You deal with abnormal relationships, but we’re talking about normal ones. This column wasn’t about whether children’s lives meet parental expectations, it was about staying in touch. Speaking as a “parental adult,” we love our kids so we want to be in touch with them. We also love our friends and want to be in touch with them. And our spouses. It’s an absolutely normal desire, and not something to “get over.” And BTW, your diatribe is a tad unprofessional. You might want to get some help to deal with all that emotion.

      As for orange, it’s one of my favorite colors and I’m glad to see it in the limelight, especially combined with purple. Gorgeous.

      • mrsfitz says:

        I agree with Terry totally. And I’m sorry but if you’ve never been a parent you have no idea what it’s like (there I said it…get over it). It’s a matter of kindness and respect (remember the 10 Commandments???). That’s whats wrong with the world today, people don’t want to allow love in their lives and only want to wallow in what are tiny little problems when compared with world hunger, homelessness and nuclear holocaust. What she should be counseling these people is to get a bigger life, one that includes their parents, after all you be old and alone someday too!

    • Barb says:

      You’re a psychotherapist? I’m sorry, but I feel there may be hurt issues there that need to be addressed for you as well as your patients. There are some parents that are too controlling, but some just want relationship with their child. One of the problems is that we have children that have the idea it is all about them, some just pick up that attitude, some are taught that. While yes they have goals and a life, they must also make room on the planet and their world for other people. They may find that when they need someone the ‘friends’ they have chosen may not be there for them. I’m not saying that it’s not good to have friends and your own life, it is. True friends are not near as many in life as acquaintances. It doesn’t kill a child to take ten minutes out of their busy week to call a parent. I’m not speaking of a realtionship with an abusive parent, that is a different story. It just doesn’t hurt to show kindness to another human, especially your parents. I too am a non parental adult, and if I had kids I would expect some of that from a 15 -17 year old, but when they are into adulthood, I would expect an adult.

  8. Arlene says:


    You hit the nail one the head with this blog…I am sending it to my daught immediately. I’m just not certain she will get the point, well not for at least 18 years, after all she’s only 32!

    • Geri says:

      Hi Arlene,



  9. Hope says:

    Ooops. a *bit* better

  10. Hope says:

    As frustrating and disappointing as it is, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. I swear I’d never hear from my son if I didn’t see his “green light” on and G-chat periodically. My daughters are a big better, but one really prefers text to live phone conversations about 75% of the time. Such are the times we live in…

    OH, and I love orange, too. 🙂

  11. gina says:

    My FOF mom learned to text b/c my brother and I text frequently. I actually answer the phone most of the time my mom calls. My brother never answers, but he lives around the corner from them, so he often stops in to pick up food or walks over with his dog, so my parents get plenty of face time with him.

  12. Mary K. says:

    Probably the kids get just as irritated when parents don’t answer their texts!!

  13. Joanna says:

    OMG -this article really made me feel better. I too have a 26 year old son and phone calls are like pulling teeth. Occasionally I get answers to emails and texts but not always. I thought I was the only one!

    BTW – I’ve been ahead of the orange curve for a while now – love it!

  14. Geri says:

    Hi Theresa aka Terry 🙂

    Great point. We will be the first to know, but I think we feel we’ll prevent anything bad from happening by caring.


  15. Theresa aka Terry says:

    Orange is showing up everywhere, furniture, clothes, accessories. You were ahead of the fashion industry on this!

    As far as our “grown up” kids are concerned I have adopted a new mode of responding. When they text or call, I don’t answer right away or I tell them I’m busy and have to call them back. You can tell they are so insulted not to have me at their beck and call. But we have created this dilemma, with cell phones, face book, email, texting, voice mail. Which by the way my kids have told me 1,000 times “Do not leave voice mail, we don’t listen to it.”

    Growing up we had only pay phones and hopefully a quarter to call our parents and they didn’t have any way of getting in touch with us. Why can’t we just get it in our heads that when our kids are not fine we’ll be the first to know. Why do we constantly worry???

  16. Vera J says:

    I am really happy that the orange trend is back. Personally, it is one of my best colors. In a deep shade, that is.

    As far as the texting goes… we took our son and DIL out for dinner last week. The “Christmas dinner” we missed at Christmas. And I finally told them how I felt about texting. Just call or at least send me an email. I am not a typical friend. PLEASE DON’T TEXT ME!. Because the next time I won’t answer.

    • Geri says:

      Hi Vera,

      And what did he say?


      • Vera says:

        Hi Geri,

        He just laughed! I don’t know if they believed me. They will, though, the next time either one of them texts me!


  17. Kate Line Snider says:

    I thought I was the only one. My fingernails are too long for me to text, so I use Facebook from my home office.

    And by the way, I love the orange trend. It’s one of my best colors!


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