I am FINALLY launching the second series of parenting posts I promised. As always, thank you for taking the time to be here.
NOTE: These essays originally posted starting 11/11/2013, for a total of six articles, right around the time my boys were turning 17 and 15. Very special thanks to Doctor Lori and Ms. Paula, for unknowingly inspiring me to pull together the rest of the Could We Have Done Something Right series, and subsequently, my workshop.
Here is Part 1:
“You realize we’re both hating you right about now,” said a new coworker, a few weeks ago. She, myself and a student’s assistant were discussing kids and getting them to do their chores without it being a struggle.
I’d happened onto their discussion, just in time to hear the assistant saying she was tired of “paying” her teenage kids before their chores were done, then having to argue about it.
Interestingly enough, this conversation took place a few days after Hubby and I decided to leave the dinner dishes and go hit tennis balls before dark. Younger Son (who at the time, was a few weeks shy of his 15th birthday) had cleared the dishes, but there were still pots to be washed, the counter to be wiped down…you know.
Aside: This Italian was raised to NEVER do the next thing—God forbid, something fun—until the house is clean. Somehow, Hubby got infected with this disease and looked at me like, You want to go now? Leave this mess? (I assured him it would be there when we got back.)
Well, Hubby and I took off, had some fun and headed back home. (So glad I went! I happened to have an awesome day on the court–for me, anyway. Just sayin’.) It was still just light enough for a walk, so I opted to sneak in a short one before it got any darker. “Oh sure. Leave me with the kitchen clean-up,” Hubby grumped. (Not terribly.)
“I don’t know why we own Younger Son,” I answered. “There’s no reason we couldn’t have asked him to do it.”
Lo and behold, we entered a FULLY CLEANED KITCHEN. It was like the Cleaning Fairy had dropped in for a visit.
This is pretty much the point where my co-worker expressed hate. And when I mentioned the episode to someone else a day later—hey, I’m still every bit as amazed as the day it happened—another coworker overheard. She did the slow head turn, eyes wide: “What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”
BTW, on another night, in the vicinity of that time, Younger Son did something similar—washed the few dishes in the sink without being asked.
And a few weeks after that, when I picked up my mom from the hospital, and I was tied up helping her transition from hospital to home, and I hadn’t made it to cleaning the kitchen (Hubby was away), and it was 10:30 PM, I walked into the kitchen while Older Son (who was pushing the ripe age of 17) was doing what had to be done, without anyone asking.
And on another occasion close to that, when Younger Son had an orthodontist appointment at 6:30 PM—don’t ask why anyone would schedule that time when after school is so much more convenient at my house—and Hubby wasn’t home, and both boys and I were scrambling to leave the kitchen clean before taking off, Older Son casually said, “You guys go. I’ll finish this.”
Mother does the glance askance at Older Son. Huh? (This is the same kid that would step out of his shoes in the middle of the doorway and keep walking. At least he slips out of them to the side of a step these days, with one shoe pointing outward every time, which is pretty much how the kid walks, and still proof that he literally steps out of his shoes, lol.)
“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?
My co-worker’s question really got me thinking big-time. Next time, I’ll share some of the thoughts her question provoked.
Your turn: if you have kids, have they left you flumgubbered enough to wonder what YOU might have done right? Take a minute and tell us about it, please! Feel free to post a comment below, share on my Facebook page or email me (if you’re shy 🙂 ). Or simply help share the content by clicking one or more of the buttons below!
Have a spectacular day!
©Joanne C Timpano, content and images (unless otherwise specified), 2019.