ENOUGH SAID: Parenting the Eagles' way
I have come to the conclusion that having children is like checking into the Hotel California, “once you check in...
“You can never leave.”
Doesn’t matter how old they are, how old you are, how old the dog is they promised to walk, which you now wrestle out the door, your kids are your kids and you worry about them whether they just graduated from formula, to cereal or high school to college.
I remember obsessing over letters and numbers. My oldest daughter wanted nothing to do with anything remotely related to instruction prior to attending school.
“You are not my teachers,” she said. “You are my mommy and my daddy.” We thought it was cute until she rode the big yellow bus for the first time. She was 4, and begged us to go, and though she could spell her name, she did not know the names of the letters. We could have kept her home until she caught up but I was afraid if we did she’d be driving herself to kindergarten. She’s a teacher now.
I had it easy. My kids were good kids, no drugs, no drinking, beer-pong was held off until college. I admit I’m hiding under a huge umbrella decorated with alternating stripes of denial and delusion, but at this point, both girls are gainfully employed and married, well, one is hitched and the other is soon to be, so I don’t want to know what really went on. They can tell me stories when I’m too old to remember who they are, or better yet, I’ll tell a couple.
How about the time our oldest just about totaled her car in our driveway? She was putting on her seatbelt, which is a good thing I guess, and had to jerk the wheel as the car headed for the large rocks at the edge of the driveway by the swampy area. As she yanked it she overcompensated and hit the large rocks on the other side of the driveway.
Then there was the time our youngest studied abroad for a few weeks one summer. What a great experience, travel across Europe and learn at the same time. The night of her arrival in the UK she called to tell us she got there allright and that her room at the university overlooked a beautiful area, “very British”, she said, and “oh, by the way, the international phone-plan doesn’t work.” We were being charged a dollar a minute. The next night she called again. This time she was miserable, lonely, wanted to come home. She never did like sleepovers, but at a buck a minute I was a little, no, actually I was very harsh.
“Deal,” I said. Although I don’t think deal was the only four-letter word I used.
The next night, no call. A week later, no call, after two weeks of not hearing her complain, I was sure she had been kidnapped in France or decided to hitchhike across Europe with a Cornhusker from the University of Nebraska. I would have paid 5 bucks a minute, no, 10, to hear her voice. Any more than 10 and I figured she could learn French and get a job.
Just before she was to return home, she called from somewhere I can’t remember, to tell me she was having the time of her life. I had just spent two and half weeks deciding whether I should contact the State Department, or redecorate her room, and she’s having the time of her life.
Yup, kids, we check in and never check out. I wouldn’t have it any other way.