For almost 10 years, I've been trying to teach my children kindness and acceptance. Play with everyone, include this child or that child, treat everyone as you would want to be treated. Just be a nice person. You know, like they tell us to in the parenting handbook.
Well, is it too late to take it all back?
You see, last week, I got four emails from the school nurse. (Those poor school nurses -- is there ever any good news that comes from them? It's either some horrible contagious illness or the harassment for some form which we need to drag our kids to the doctor to have filled out. It's almost like they're asking to have their email and phone numbers blocked.)
Last week, I offhandedly remarked to Evan that he could do something or other once he lived in his own house. He looked at me with horror. "Mommy!!! But I'm going to live with you forever," he informed me. I laughed but later realized it wasn't all that funny.
I love my kids with all my heart, but by the time they've graduated college, I look forward to loving them while they reside on their own. You know, so I can go into their homes and barge into the bathrooms and eat all of the food they bought for themselves. That's something to look forward to!
But I can't argue with his thinking; other than my habit of yelling too much, living under my roof is pretty damn nice for them. Perhaps too nice. Come to think of it, it's almost like I'm asking them never to leave.
Does having your children live with you forever sound like a future you'd like? Want to avoid the empty nest syndrome altogether? You can pretty much guarantee it by doing the following ...
Last week, we were having a tough night. OK, if I'm being really honest, it wasn't a night that unlike every other night in my house: The kids were roughhousing, I was yelling and the dog was running around in circles. The thing that set it apart from every other night? The fact that the police banged on our door to investigate a domestic disturbance that some neighbor called in.
Naturally, feeling like a major failure in the parenting department, I turned to my community to make me feel better. Was I the only one to have a parental brush with the law? Did they have any stories to share, I begged?
If there's any one thing I've learned in my decade of parenting, it's to appreciate the here and now, because as cliche as it is, time really does fly. Not the days -- never the days, but the years? They seem to pass in record speed once you become a parent.
Back when I had babies and little-little kids (as opposed to the big-little kids I now parent), there were phases I wished away, sure that the next one would be easier or better, somehow. Some of them were really dreadful -- you couldn't pay me to experience teething again and I love that my kids are now pretty self-sufficient. But then there are the things I wished away that don't look all that bad with a little distance. In fact, I long for them most days. Things like these ...