My parents are great, wonderful people. They’re devoted to their friends and to their families, they can cook anything without even looking at a recipe while I have to read the directions on EasyMac at least twice before commencing cooking, and it feels like they know everything. I come home from school with a new fact or piece of information that I’m particularly proud of learning, and they don’t bat an eye before launching into a tangent about said topic.

Yeah, Dad. I’m looking at you. #caterpillarstocks

But they are also older than the average age of my peers’ parents, and here are 13 things you probably recognize if you have… “old,” parents.

  1. They introduced you to their music at a young age… And you probably know most of the “old” songs on the radio. (Thanks to my parents and their love of Billy Joel, I know all the words to ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire.’ It’s a talent I only whip out when I have to.)
  2. They do not understand our music, our jargon, or our senses of humor. My brother showed our mother the Pepe the Frog meme the other day and cracked up. Mom remained straight-faced when she asked, “Why are you laughing at that?” Dad still doesn’t quite know what “lit” means. (It’s also really horrifying when they attempt to use said lingo—and use it incorrectly.)
  3. If they age gracefully, no one ever really knows how old they are, and when you tell your friends, they look at you like you’ve sprouted fourteen heads and a third nostril. It’s a thing.
  4. They are very experienced—they’ve lived through tons of stuff, and give you advice that you initially roll your eyes at, but later decide you should probably remember. “McKenna, don’t forget to eat toast if your stomach is upset! McKenna, don’t forget that cold water gets blood out of everything! McKenna, don’t forget that caterpillar stocks are interesting!”
  5. They are at a major disadvantage when it comes to learning new technologies. Introducing my parents to Apple products was a terrifying experience that I never want to relive again—they’re both Microsoft users – “What is this?” “What does this mean?” “I don’t like how this is different.” “Oops, McKenna, I did something… FIX IT!”
  6. You sit in history class, where you’re constantly calculating how old your parents were when a significant event in history happened. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU REMEMBER SEGREGATION? WHAT DO YOU MEAN GIRLS COULDN’T PLAY SPORTS IN HIGH SCHOOL? YOU MEAN YOU WERE 30 WHEN THE BERLIN WALL CAME DOWN? WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU VOTED FOR NIXON?”
  7. “When I was your age…” is something that’s said on a daily basis. (Yes, we know.)
  8. There’s no such thing as coddling. If you have a problem, your parents expect you to fix it. You might be their kid, but they learned how to do stuff on their own, so you have to, too. (That means calling to make your own appointments, order pizza, actually talking to people to solve your own problems. Let me tell you—it’s still terrifying. But you look like a boss to all your friends, so it works itself out.)
  9. Every time an actor or someone their age dies, they either walk around all day in some kind of stupor or just straight-up panic. My dad always wants to know the cause of death, almost as if to reassure himself that it wasn’t due to age. Mom always says, “I can’t believe _____ died! They were my age!”
  10. When you ask them what they want for their birthday, they say that they don’t want any more stuff. “I know you want to get me something, but I really don’t need anything!” “But Dad—“ is a conversation I’ve had before. It’s a vicious cycle.
  11. Every time they see something they had in an earlier decade, they proceed to talk about said thing for at LEAST 2 days. In various conversations. At different times. I watched the first couple of episodes of Stranger Things with my parents, and every time one of the teenagers came on screen, Mom would whack Dad’s arm and look at me and go, “I had that exact same haircut/car/phone/tv/clothing style back then, too!”
  12. THEY DANCE IN PUBLIC WHEN A SONG THEY KNOW COMES ON. (And it’s always dance moves they were good at when they were younger.) You probably run away and hide whenever you hear one of their favorite artists come on the speakers.
  13. Finally, they use old phrases… that you inevitably pick up. “Up to your eyeballs in alligators,” “Up a crick without a paddle,” “Get the heck out of Dodge,” and “Boogied,” are colloquialisms that infiltrate your vernacular and confuse the heck out of your friends.

So, all-in-all, old parents really change up your life… but you still wouldn’t change it (or them) for anything.