Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When the Party's Over

First, let me say that our holiday season was a bumpy one.

Whoever said that parents are busier and their hearts--and wallets--are stretched more when there's a slew of ankle biters running around the house lied.  And should be spanked.  Either that or said person didn't stick around until the kids became adults and almost-adults.

I know alotta things.  I know what to do with a fever, a sore throat, a twisted ankle, an earache, a mean teacher, a fresh mouth, and sibling rivalry. I can serve up the Brat Diet, Nature's Penicillin, Magic Mouthwash and the best whipped cream icing ever.  I am resourceful beyond words, can stretch a buck as if it was rubber, and can make a gourmet souffle out of cardboard.

But, for the life of me, I do not understand the college student.

The big boys finished up their semester finals in mid-December and graced us with their precious presence for the entire holiday season.  I was able to spend hours talking at them while they texted and stopped up their ears with something called ear buds.  I learned that I am stupid and that they are smart because they attend college.  At first, they spoke to me gently, as if I was a small child who did not understand.  By Christmas, they had become a little testy in their constant reminders.  By New Year's Eve, one of them had bugged out in favor of laying up at a friend's house, and the other was barely speaking to me.

May I just say here that my heart hurt more than I imagined it could have?  I used my best reasoning skills and purposed with everything I had in me not to incite them to wrath.  But they were still wrathful.

And the girls, my beautiful teen princesses, who play sports at opposite ends of the county, informed me that if their coaches called practices, I would certainly be driving them to these practices.  I stammered:  "But what about Christmas?  What about family time?  What about caroling, and tree lighting and visits with family?  What about those things, huh?" Again, even the kids who still live under our roof, spoke to me as if I just didn't get it--slowly, and with small words.

And maybe I don't get it.  I have always despised injustice, yet have come to reside under its cruel authority.  I imagine a fantasy family in which the children come home from high school and college without their own agendas, with no more trouble attached to them than a sackful of laundry sporting stubborn stains.  They tell me I just need to go with the flow.  What?  Turn a blind eye to bad manners and a deaf ear to potty mouth?  Turn a clogged nose to the showerless and smoke-filled?  Not a chance, I say!  Oh, where are the diapers  and drool cloths, the playpens and playgrounds?  Where have my ankle biters gone?

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