For all those parents counting the years, months, and days that when you’re kid turns eighteen, you get the house back to yourself–roaming the halls naked, forget it! And what I mean is that there still may be days where you can be yourself in your birthday suit (with the blinds drawn), but don’t count on it 24/7. That’s a pipedream just to keep you going, and it almost never happens; just like dirty laundry–they’ll be back.
See, while your kid is growing up, you’ll hear empty promises like, “When I’m eighteen, the only thing you’ll see of me is my backside leaving your door.” (It is supposed to be a threat, BTW.) A threat to make you feel guilty so you don’t get too excited about having the place to yourself–and, as I said, an empty threat. Chances are very good they will be back. Maybe not for an exceptionally long stay, maybe just a month or a week, but they’ll be back. So don’t do what I did and get excited about the new office space you’ll have when the room is vacant. It won’t be.
My 20-year-old son made that promise to me when I told him he needs to pay rent if he’s keeping the room to himself–or as I like to refer to it–my office. And don’t get me wrong, I love my son very much. Being “a parent of convenience” isn’t healthy for our kids; they need to learn about failure. That’s a vital part of being an adult. You know, make them ask to come back–not an open door policy that when they need a commercial break from responsibility, they can nestle under mommy’s wing and catch their breath. I never got that from my parents. Look at how wonderful I turned out. NOT! 🤪
My daughter just had her 16th birthday. Not at home. She was at military camp learning new survival skills for when she graduates. Brilliantly smart, I had to have the conversation with her that her grades are still important even if she uses the GI Scholarship to get in. This did not please her to hear. Neither did it please her to understand that even though she’ll graduate and become an officer by the age of eighteen, protecting her from the front lines, that medics are actually in more peril. “But they have orders not to shoot unarmed soldiers performing medical duties,” she argued. I explained that the enemy doesn’t stop to examine men through glasses ensuring they aren’t medics before shooting. And if a medic gets shot, the war doesn’t stop, a loudspeaker emerges and a commander’s voice bellows, “Alright, who shot the medic? We’re not fighting again until someone answers!” Not in the cards. She still argues. I guess this stubborn girl will find out the hard way. Seriously though, I’m glad she’s using her skills for the good of others. It’s a very mature and selfless maneuver.
My daughter, who is (as a reminder) sixteen, also has pie in the sky notions of how lovely it will be to move out from under her mother’s roof. Any of you have kids like that? They’ll eat pizza every night and play video games every weekend, while they aren’t at work? Planning on working at the pet store and raking in the big bucks–not a food court. Little does she realize the money is the same, and once the car payment, gasoline, oil change, tires, vehicle inspections, insurance, etc. is paid, she may have enough to split rent with three others. Pizza? COSTCO! Video games? Minecraft and Roblox will have to be EXTREMELY entertaining for a long, long time.
Of course, I had a similar dream. Mine was to dig a secret tunnel in the backyard with a fort underground without my parents knowing. I had drawn an incredibly detailed sketch of the idea with everything included, such as a couch and a bed, a sink, toilet and tub… it was all there. No, I had no idea of where I would get this amazing furniture. Buy it? What? But the dream came to an abrupt halt on the second night. Even though I had a big and obscure board to cover the hole, and even managed to sneak out a couple of nights and dig, my dream came to a screeching halt when I realized I couldn’t just spread the dirt around between the blades of grass and have it blend. And when I did stop, it looked nothing like the diagram. It was a long and slender hole that when I stood in it, my head still stuck out.
The worst was when I screamed from the backyard until my parents rescued me, because I had no way of climbing back out. I was lucky that night. My parents weren’t in agreement, at first, to assist in my escape. But my dad finally got on board when I told him I’d have the hole filled by the next day. I was a kid with abashed dreams, and I wanted nothing more than to see my own kids learn their lessons as well. But while they’re learning them, shouldn’t I be entitled to a break of my own?
Like a kid a month before Christmas, I am making out a Wish List of all the things I would love to have but never really plan to own. *sigh*
- Time to apply makeup properly
- The ability to shop for more than a bra that fits
- Walk through my house without hearing the television blaring, “Eat my shorts, Homer!”
- Comprehend television programming that isn’t animated with closed-captioning to understand
- Use the clothes washer without wondering if detergent has been poured into the bleach dispenser (although I am impressed they tried)
- Not have the dog and cat “following” underfoot, demanding to be fed or watered because someone forgot
- A hot bubble bath in the jetted tub surrounded by tea candles omitting just enough light to play the relaxing music I choose (I saw this in a movie once)
- P.S. No time limit on the last one
While the likelihood of these happening is the same as catching The Tooth Fairy slipping from beneath my pillow, a girl can dream! The fact of the matter is, once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent–unless it’s a day where your child doesn’t need a ride, money, or a place to stay. 😉 Anyone planning on having kids, better keep this in mind–before the only mind you have is lost forever.