DC Diary

Hawaii 5-0

January 7th, 2014 : No Comments »

Michelle Obama

I find it amusing that President Obama’s 50th birthday ‘gift’ to Michelle was to leave her behind in Hawaii with friends, while he high-tailed it back to DC with Malia and Sasha.

Since this is exactly what Brad and the twins probably wish they had given me for Christmas, I know what President Obama and the girls likely had in mind: leave the b. at the beach and enjoy two weeks of peace and quiet while mom recovers from her holiday insanity.

Of course, I may unfairly be ascribing my own holiday madness to Michelle, but the Post also reported today that Mrs. Obama’s 50th birthday party invitations for later this month came with the instruction to guests ‘to eat dinner before you come.’

Now if that doesn’t sound like someone who’s had it with having to feed, fete and generally cater to other people’s needs, I don’t know what does.

Anyone else have an idea why the Obamas aren’t willing to spring for dinner when it comes to celebrating Michelle’s big 5-0?

Phoebe

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Posted in Current Affairs, DC, DC Diary, Domestic Bliss, Family Values, Politics, Politics and Propane


Is the new slow cooker really an old crock?

January 8th, 2014 : No Comments »

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I wonder how many other mature adults have been lured by the simplicity of the “new” slow cooker? Shiny stainless steel and updated recipes sent me over the moon for mine. I immediately prepared chorizo stew, asparagus risotto and asian short ribs before deciding to conquer asian pho. My teen son and four friends feasted happily on my hours long concoction. I was feeling rather ebullient and even a little smug– who needs Pho 14 now bitches? When bragging about this accomplishment to a native east coast neighbor, however, my bubble was promptly burst. I was reminded that no one outside of the midwest considers any form of slow cooking virtuous, tasty or chic. I snapped a photo of my soup and a picture of my beautiful pot and was rewarded with the query, “Was that passed down from your midwestern grandmother?” After reassuring myself the relationship could be spared, and deleting said neighbor from my contact list, I retired to my bed to finish the quilt I am making for a baby shower. If only I could shake the feeling that you can take a girl out of the midwest but never a crock pot from her hands. I worry that I will soon be told my cookie exchange parties are a sign of age (and midwestern heritage) too. Ah well, perhaps curmudgeon is trending in DC?

Crystal

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Posted in DC, DC Diary, Family Values, Food and Drink, Friendly Encounters


Burn, Baby Burn

January 14th, 2014 : No Comments »

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Time was when I was a big fan of my teenage daughters playing Sims.

After all, it seemed like such a wholesome activity compared to other things they could be doing: First, you created your virtual family, complete with mom, dad (or mom/mom/dad/dad – Sims is nothing if not right on trend) and baby, and then you went about the laborious process of creating their lives. Housing, feeding and finding jobs for  your Sims family required a considerable amount of time and effort, and if you sometimes got bored in the process and decided to employ a cheat in order to delete the odd tedious husband or child – well, that’s pretty much how it works in real life too. N’est-ce pas? Even if potty-training your Sims baby apparently involved throwing it up in the air, and presumably letting the s*%^t fall where it may.

But then it came to my attention that far more rewarding to my girls than merely deleting their bald, aging coot of a husband and whiny brat of a child was to strategically move a table in their virtual Sims home too close to a roaring fireplace, and then sit back and enjoy the results as you watched your darling loved ones go up in flames. (See picture on right). The post-mortem mourning period can prove quite moving, or so I’m told.

My question to you, dear C and other readers is this: should I be concerned that we are raising a generation of virtual psychopaths? Or is engaging in little pyromania really just another healthy outlet for all that teenage angst, such as our husbands engage in every time they get together for a round of Ghost Recon?

Posted in DC Diary

Surely it was him, not me

January 24th, 2014 : No Comments »

Seems it’s rather more difficult than I imagined to hire a caregiver for my father, Phoebe. Yesterday, I met a lovely woman, Louisa, who came more highly praised than a DC private school child. My dear sweet father (that’s the one who showed up yesterday anyway) was well-attired, polite and only mildly feeble. Louisa was charmed, if I may say so myself. I even, ahem, showed her our video clip to add a certain, “Je ne sais quoi” to our DC street cred.  It was with much alarm and surprise that I discovered, late last night, that she chose another family over us. She claimed they had a greater need and wanted to “stay in touch.” Felt much like one of my college break-ups in which my boyfriend claimed, “It’s me, not you,” when indeed we both knew it was the opposite. Next time, dear Phoebe, there will be no “dressing up” of the old goat. Full bipap (look it up rookies) and no teeth will rule the day. Didn’t bother dad at all, btw. His only comment, “She wasn’t good lookin’ enough anyway.” My midwestern sensibility will not allow myself to entertain the notion that he may have acted in an untoward fashion when my back was turned. Denial is the root of family bliss, after all.

Crystal

2014-dad-revised

Posted in DC Diary, Domestic Bliss, Friendly Encounters, Medical Madness, Oldest Swingers in Town

Re. Teenage Waist Management

February 20th, 2014 : No Comments »

Dear Crystal,

Your point about calories counting – even while ingested standing in front of an open freezer door – is well-taken, although I still like to think the fries I steal from Brad’s plate somehow don’t. But given how sensitive the average teenage girl is to criticism, I fear that any remark pertaining to health and fitness will be interpreted as a dog whistle for weight gain – and let’s face it, they are probably right about that.

As a former fat girl myself, and someone who still struggles with those elusive extra few pounds, I certainly appreciate the need for healthy choices and portion control when it comes to eating – even if I don’t always practice the same. But I think I can speak with authority when I say that had my parents ever suggested I go on a diet way back when, I would probably weigh upwards of 600lbs today. After all, telling a teenager what they should or should not be doing generally has the same effect on them as a red rag to a bull – or maybe just a can of Red Bull.

As it was, my parents generally preferred to take the British approach of never, ever mentioning the gigantic elephant in the room, even when she was flanked, as I was, by two gazelle-like sisters. All this meant that the one and only time my father did feel compelled to pass comment, and inquire if I intended to eat the entire family bag of Cheetos in one sitting, his words immediately turned my chips into ashes, and while I probably did finish the entire bag, I have never bought one since. To this day, I still love anything covered in fake orange cheese, but I know I can’t have anything like that in my house.

Ultimately, however, I don’t think anyone can really lead another person to weight loss and make them thin. And the risk of doing more harm than good, in the sense of triggering eating disorders, is far too great. All we can do is offer our teens healthy meals, our own example of how to take interest and pleasure in food – and maybe a single, passing comment upon how it’s not always necessary to finish the damn bag.

Phoebe

 

Cheetos girl

 

Posted in DC Diary, Weighty Matters

Teenage waist management

February 20th, 2014 : No Comments »

Phoebe,

Body image and self-esteem seem to be all the rage these days in expert parenting circles. I don’t recall so much of this in the early 80– unless you count my boyfriend’s mother telling me my Laura Ashley dress clearly showed that I had a “tendency” to pack on the pounds and should “start” to be careful. Crushed my mortal soul for sure but did also learn that the small pints of Haagen Dazs I ate at college indeed counted for very real calories no matter how much despair I felt in calculus class.

Now, I suppose, we’d know better than to point out anything with regard to the teenage body and simply hope code words like healthy and fit are enough to suggest our teen not keep a spoon in the half gallon of ice cream in the freezer for instant gratification purposes. I only wonder if in the process of building our kids’ self-esteem, we’ve failed to teach them about the real world. Sure, they see thin models with better clothes than theirs in magazines, but how to account for the cutting remark by their classmate about their “Kardashian sized” booty? Shouldn’t we better prepare them for the idea that there are better ways to manage stress than at the bottom of a bag of those perfect sized mini pitas?

I’m not suggesting, Phoebe, that I have any answers but have found myself wondering as I do my daily squat and bend routine to pick up snack wrappers if I’m doing no one any good (except, perhaps, MY Kardashian sized booty) by keeping quiet. I suppose the experts would say an honest conversation is not a bad idea if it avoids discussion of any current physical qualities and focuses only upon how to be more moderate in many habits. I do think my own “home school” would have to end with the very real lesson: Yes, dear teens, those ice cream calories ingested while standing at the freezer door using the spoon in the cartoon do count. Just look behind you to be sure of it. Thank god for all of us that the Kardashians have made it fashionable, at least.

Crystal

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Read what Phoebe has to say about: Re: Teenage waist management

 

Posted in DC Diary, Educating the Masses, Family Values, Food and Drink, Motherz in the Hood, Weighty Matters

Miley Cyrus: Bangerz indeed

February 27th, 2014 : No Comments »

Miley

Dearest Phoebe,

In the event you were considering allowing the twins to see the Miley Cyrus concert in DC on April 10th, you may want to reconsider. I know our darling Hannah Montana is gone forever but who knew the 21 year old Miley would want to transition from schoolgirl to harlot so quickly? Feigning sexual acts onstage with a replica of a former President seems to move beyond the ambitious young woman’s need to cultivate a new image. Although I’m no prude, I don’t see a reason to parade in front of our tweens with pot leaves as a design feature on a costume (not to mention the $40 souvenir rolling papers available at the show). In addition, her weird fetish with oversized stuffed animals seems likely only to confuse our cherubs into thinking she is still a girl and not a young woman making very adult choices. It’s an altogether inappropriate message for her target market. Unless, of course, she doesn’t want their attention at all. Lucky that as she’s made my decision not to buy overpriced tickets for the show brilliantly simple.

Crystal

 

Dear Crystal,

Thank you so much for your stern words of warning. While I am all in favor of young women feeling sexually empowered, and expressing themselves accordingly, it does seem to me that La Cyrus is not so much asserting what she wants as pandering to what she thinks her fans like. But given that I doubt many ageing former Presidents (!) have her on their playlist, and that the average twenty something  male would probably die rather than admit he did, I fear Miley has misjudged her audience. Surely most of them are pubescent and impressionable young girls, who would probably be happier if she went back to being Hannah Montana half the time, even if Miley is rolling gold leaf joints backstage?

Someone needs to inform Miley that being a true rockstar involves actually rebelling against cultural stereotypes, not letting yourself be exploited by them. And whatever you do, especially if it involves updating your image, don’t make it look like you are trying too hard. After all, you only have to look as far as Justin Bieber to realize that going off the rails, and destroying your own tiresomely wholesome image, comes all too easily to most former child stars.

Fortunately, the question of whether or not to take my teenage daughters to her show is moot, since neither of them would be caught dead singing along to one of her songs – unless it’s Best of Both Worlds, which they are still known to reprise in the shower upon occasion, when they think no-one is listening.

Phoebe

 

 

Posted in DC, DC Diary, Family Values

What I still don’t know in my 40s

March 3rd, 2014 : No Comments »

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Dear Phoebe,

I read a brilliant op-ed in the NY Times yesterday which had a wonderful list of what we know now that we may not have known a decade ago. I was thrilled to see I had mastered a couple of items on the list, including who not to invite to lunch. Ok, well, let’s just say I understand that notion now but am still slightly flummoxed when it’s time to obey this commandment.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a perfectly lovely relationship with a woman in exercise class. One day the rapport is so good–how did she notice you had worked to correct the angle of your thigh when doing 700 leg lifts, after all–that you casually suggest meeting for lunch at the new ramen place. She seems receptive but as the day approaches you realize with great dread that you will have little to discuss. Her children are  younger and less likely to be nabbed by police, her marriage far more satisfactory based on her exclamations of loving kindness for her partner, and her career happily discarded for hearth and home in way that makes you wonder, more than occasionally, if she has the Stepford chip implant.

Perhaps your scheduled lunch is the same day as the shared exercise. You smile happily and remind her of your commitment because this is what people in their 40s do no matter secret concerns.  She mentions one of her toddlers is under the weather and rescheduling might be best. You are secretly thrilled–you’ve now not only discarded a potentially difficult hour but now have a little free time–but also disappointed. Is it possible she was as desperate to avoid the occasion as you?

It seems no matter how hard I try I cannot escape the feeling I had in high school when I wasn’t chosen to run with the popular clique. Which, by the way, affirms another rule: there’s no such thing as a grown up. Surely, though, it’s all about flinging oneself into the moment and presenting with confidence (felt or not). Which is why, Phoebe, I decided to assume the dear woman was telling the truth (or had a fear of carbs that I certainly couldn’t tolerate). Oh, and I will never reschedule that lunch. I count this as progress.

Crystal

 

Dear Crystal,

I too was struck by the brilliance of Pamela Druckerman’s article in The New York Times, although I too seem to have missed out on some of her hard won wisdom.

Your point about suggesting lunch with someone with whom we have little in common is well-taken, but I would go one further and suggest that I still don’t know how to divest myself of certain ill-inspired friendships, long after we have grown apart. No matter how studiously I neglect said friend’s birthday or ignore her emails and texts, inevitably I will run into her in the park one day and find myself making plans for dinner, then steeling myself for the inevitable fight with hubby, who dislikes said friend’s boorishly-behaved husband as much as I do. For those of us who have trouble with boundaries, even in our forties, I sometimes think only an out of state move – or death – will clear the cobwebs of such friendships out of our lives.

Here’s a short summary of some other life skills I have yet to master:

1) How to use the TV remote;

2) How to make peace with those last 5 – OK, make that 10 – extra lbs;

3) How to get in the right lane of Dupont Circle, so I can get off it when I need to;

4) How not to care when I find out on Facebook that I didn’t get invited to what I thought was a reasonably good friend’s birthday party;

5) How to follow instructions correctly when I’m baking.

Maybe all these issues will miraculously resolve themselves by the time we’re fifty?

 

Phoebe

 

 

 

Posted in DC Diary, Exercise Induced Bliss, Friendly Encounters

Our Little Miley is Grown Up

September 10th, 2014 : No Comments »

miley-cyrus

Dearest Phoebe,

In the event you were considering allowing the twins to see Miley Cyrus in concert in D.C. on April 10, you may want to reconsider.

I know our darling Hannah Montana is gone forever, but who knew the 21-year-old Miley would want to transition from schoolgirl to harlot so quickly? Feigning sexual acts on stage with a replica of a former president seems to move beyond the ambitious young woman’s need to cultivate a new image.

Although I’m no prude, I don’t see a reason to parade in front of our tweens with pot leaves as a design feature on a costume (not to mention the $40 souvenir rolling papers available at the show). In addition, her weird fetish with oversized stuffed animals seems likely only to confuse our cherubs into thinking she is still a girl and not a young woman making very adult choices. It’s a confusing and altogether inappropriate message for her target market. Unless, of course, she doesn’t want their attention at all.

She’s made my decision not to buy overpriced tickets for the show brilliantly simple.

–Crystal

* * *

Dear Crystal,

Thank you so much for your stern words of warning. While I am all in favor of young women feeling sexually empowered and expressing themselves accordingly, it does seem to me that La Cyrus is not so much asserting what she wants as pandering to what she thinks her fans like.

But given that, I doubt many ageing former presidents (!) have her on their playlist and the average twenty-something male would probably die rather than admit he did. I fear Miley has misjudged her audience.

Surely most of them are pubescent and impressionable young girls who would probably be happier if she went back to being Hannah Montana half the time, even if Miley is rolling gold leaf joints backstage?

Someone needs to inform Miley that being a true rock star involves actually rebelling against cultural stereotypes, not letting yourself be exploited by them. And whatever you do, especially if it involves updating your image, don’t make it look like you are trying too hard. After all, you only have to look as far as Justin Bieber to realize that going off the rails, and destroying your own tiresomely wholesome image, comes all too easily to most former child stars.

Fortunately, the question of whether or not to take my teenage daughters to her show is moot, since neither of them would be caught dead singing along to one of her songs — unless it’s “Best of Both Worlds,” which they are still known to reprise in the shower upon occasion, when they think no one is listening.

— Phoebe

Posted in DC, DC Diary

Move over Helicopters, There’s a new Parenting Style in Town

September 10th, 2014 : No Comments »

truck-parenting

Crystal,

By now, I’m sure you have read the countless reviews and articles on author and high school teacher David McCullough’s new book, “You are Not Special, and Other Encouragements,” which criticizes what he calls “snowplow parents” for raising a generation of young adults who are “anxious, dependent, narcissistic and careerist.”

I’m sure you’ve chuckled at the title, along with every other adult over 40, and felt a jolt of recognition as he talks about the over-protective molly- coddling that has gone into raising the current generation of young adults. McCullough warns children are becoming “terrified of failure” and are being turned into “achievement machines” by their parents.

The result of all this competitive parenting, he claims, is that children can fail to settle into careers and end up dependent on drugs or alcohol, or even suffer a nervous breakdown, in a bid to live up to their over-achieving parents’ expectations.

Growing up, I always wanted to have helicopter parents — the kind of mother that got up to make you breakfast; who called you every day at college to see how you were doing; and who did your laundry when you came home on breaks without complaint. To this day, I am envious of a friend whose father would drop her off at the door of a theater or restaurant before looking for parking, just so his precious daughter wouldn’t get wet in the rain.

My parents were routinely late for every school pick-up and ballet recital, and were content to let me walk home alone from school down an isolated country lane in the cold, rain and dark.

Now that I’m a mother and soon-to-be empty nester myself, I’m sure you are expecting to say my views have changed. But as a matter of fact, they haven’t. Sure, I’ve read the recent stories about helicopter, and now snowplow, parents with interest, and while I’m not Type A enough to be either (it requires an amazing amount of strategic planning, not to mention effort, to raise a child this way), I do personally believe that one of the most important and rewarding aspects of parenting is to help make your children’s lives easier. I want my children to feel loved, protected and cared for, and to provide them wherever possible with the kind of educational and enrichment opportunities that will enable them hopefully one day to embark upon a rewarding career, and provide a similar kind of nurturing to their own children, and others, once they are grown.

Living in the suburbs of Washington D.C., it’s easy to come across examples of parents who go too far when it comes to nurturing — some would say controlling — their children. There’s the woman whose 11-year-old daughter came over for a playdate, and asked me what she should do with the soiled tissue in her hand after she sneezed. And I know of numerous examples of wealthy parents who have carefully and systematically tried to build their teenagers’ college resumes by sending them to Beijing to learn Mandarin; to Oxford to take advanced math; and to summer internships in New York, where the teenager in question can try their hand at documentary filmmaking without having to worry about how they are going to pay for rent and food.

I can’t help thinking that all these activities do little more than demonstrate that the parents of the teenager in question are wealthy and well- connected. Or maybe I’m just jealous.

At the same time, however, I’m impatient with McCullough’s criticism of snowplow parents for doing whatever it takes to help their kids get ahead in life. As McCullough says himself, “If you do not get into one of the top 30 to 50 colleges, you are in for a very hard time in life — that’s the thinking driving all this.”

In an increasingly interconnected, globalized world, where corporations and jobs move at lightning speed to wherever taxes and wages are lowest, our children will need to grow up to be exceptional just to find employment. So when McCullough exhorts us, as parents of soon-to-be young adults, to “try as much as possible to give children free rein,” and “let them follow their own passions and curiosities without overweening interference every step of the way,” I feel like asking whether McCullough is aware of his own inconsistency in advocating a laissez-faire approach to parenting, while at the same time acknowledging that kids who don’t make it into the top 2 percent of colleges are in for a very hard time in life.

And when he argues that “Sometimes our kids take paths they shouldn’t; sometimes they will make mistakes. That’s OK,” I feel like responding, “No, David; No it’s not.”

–Phoebe

* * *

Phoebe,

As I helped install my second darling child into her dorm room last week, I listened carefully to the dialogue between her roommate and mother. The mother was being chastised for forgetting a number of items and was eating humble pie in spite of her best efforts. The mother is a cheerful and competent woman who proudly displayed accessories her daughter could share (or not) with her roommates. It was quickly apparent she wanted our approval for her kindness and competence. I thanked her generously and genuinely, but realized so much of what she did was about her and not her daughter.

My theory about snowplow parents is, really, illustrated by my recent experience. Their cushioning of every blow and handling of every crisis occurs because they are perfectionists who fear failure themselves, and have an unquenchable need to have their children succeed as they have. They are often the parents who, as workers, lead a team of people and complete all their subordinates’ projects as well as their own. As most of us know, this makes employees (and children) disgruntled and discontent in the long run. The clear message is that only they know how to do it right. Not a great message to send anyone, really, although it is remarkably tempting to always get your own way.

When my own darling remarked on her own forgotten items, I told her to add them to her list for the relatively nearby Target and we would make one trip before I left later that day. She grumbled a little but understood it was her responsibility, not mine, to pack her belongings for college.

I’d like to tell you I carefully cultivated the persona of hands-off mothering, but the truth is, four children make that much easier. Besides often feeling overwhelmed by so many little people with so very many needs, I’m also an only child myself. In combination this means I had no idea what I was getting into and also highly value “me” time. The result, I think, are kids who (at least in theory) know how to make a list and execute on it. They aren’t perfect, trust me, and neither am I. I sometimes rush to the rescue when a forgotten textbook would mean a failing test grade and they sometimes roar at me when their own negligence results in not succeeding. But, twice so far at least, they know it’s their job to pack for college. Can’t be entirely sure that translates to taking more responsibility in their own lives each year, but I’m hopeful. I have to be.

Remember, dear Phoebe, your friend’s father will inevitably not always be there to keep her from getting her feet wet. Although a charming tradition to be sure, I hope she knows how to cope when it inevitably happens. It is, metaphorically, at least, one of the most important life lessons for all of us.

–Crystal

Posted in DC, DC Diary, Parenting

The College Countdown Begins

August 21st, 2015 : No Comments »

2015-08-17 16.37.07Dear Crystal,

As the mother of four cherubs, including two young adults, I know you are already familiar with the process of seeing the fruit of your womb going off to college, so I am hoping you can advise me if the turmoil I am right now, both internal and external, is to be expected.

To whit, is it normal to feel both bereft at the thought that the baby you once carried on the crook of your hip everywhere will never live at home in quite the same way she once did again, and simultaneously irritated that she is trying to engage you in a deep philosophical discussion while you are trying to eat breakfast in peace?

Is it OK to fall over oneself to do as much as possible for said offspring, by way of shopping, laundry and list-making, then find yourself being driven crazy by their inability to choose between laundry hampers at the Container Store, which is generally your happy place?

And is it to be expected that in spite of the fact they have more or less managed the entire college application process themselves, and held down two part-time jobs successfully most of the summer, all it takes is two weeks of witnessing them hang around in ratty old t-shirts and pajama bottoms all day, watching Netflix, for you to start panicking that they will never figure out what they want to do in life, let alone find someone to share it with?

Of course, it doesn’t help that I seem to have chosen this particularly inconvenient moment in time to embark upon a comprehensive attic to basement de-nesting exercise, when it could easily wait another year, when my second and last chick will fly the coop. I blame Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for selling me on the illusion that I can sort out all my emotions and all my life-problems just by sorting out my shelves. Right now, I appear to be stuck with more of both, and I fear the solution may end up involving putting myself out on the curb with all the other old baggage.

Please tell me there is hope.

Phoebe

***

Phoebe,

Speaking of wombs, I often wonder why my college-aged darlings seem to want to return to it more than the ones who emerged from it much more recently. I suspect, as in all matters of the heart, Phoebe, distance–lots of it– makes the heart grow fonder. Once tucked into dorm rooms, one’s children seem to both relish the pleasure of independence, naturally, and long for the parental servitude of home. The impressive number of heartwarming texts from my offspring while not in my presence is encouraging. However, after a summer spent with so much quantity time with all of my children, I know their looks of disdain for me are surpassed only by my snotty flip of the wrist when discarding yet another carelessly discarded empty juicebox or water bottle in their presence. Can’t wait for my eldest ones to be back in their vastly overpriced maturation pods so that I can long for them (and they for me) again.

In sum, Phoebe, it should not be forgotten that this is as much your journey as theirs. A near constant reminder of that, while their nerves are frayed with anticipation for their new life, is likely to create just the right friction necessary for the the last goodbye on campus to be one they cherish forever.

Crystal

 

Posted in DC, DC Diary, Domestic Bliss, Motherz in the Hood, Parenting

Eleven Things I’ve Learned Since Dropping My Kid at College

September 16th, 2015 : 1 Comment »

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Dropping my firstborn off at college may have been way harder than I expected, even though I’d been anticipating it all year, but one month on, I’m here to report that the aftermath has been both more heartrending than I anticipated in some ways, but also a pleasant surprise. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1) You will have less laundry, but more leftovers
2) You won’t need to buy as much food at the grocery store, or order as much at restaurants, and this will make you inexplicably sad
3) Their bedroom will look too tidy, so you will need to keep the door closed, to avoid feeling bereft
4) You will send crazy texts reminding them not to stand on balconies at frat parties, and worry about them cycling without a helmet, even though that’s exactly what you did all four years at college, and your parents never said a word
5) You will also send videos of dogs vomiting at the prospect of a new baby in the house, telling yourself it’s a good way to stay in touch, but also because you share the same juvenile sense of humor
6) You will miss them terribly, and yet feel an unfamiliar sense of liberty at having one less family member’s needs to attend to
7) Your daughter will sign up for Catholic mass at the Activities Fair because a stranger offered her candy, and you will fight the urge to tell her not to go
8) Parents at your younger daughter’s Back to School night will look a generation younger, and way too involved in their children’s lives
9) You will resist the urge to tell them it really doesn’t matter where their kids are going to college, so long as they’re happy – not necessarily a given, you know from other parents whose kids have dropped out
10) Your relationship with your kid who’s still at home will get closer and more mature, although you will have to resist the urge to defer to them about every decision, especially related to dinner
11) Your relationship with your husband will get closer, even if it involves being gentler with each other, rather than lots of wild sex (although that may happen too).

Postscript: As I was writing this article, my husband was watching a Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War on TV (I told you he was wild), and I overheard the narrator reading an excerpt from a letter from a mother to her Union soldier son, warning him not to engage in too much card-playing, because she feared that might only lead to gambling. Some things never change.

Phoebe

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Posted in DC, DC Diary, Family Values, Motherz in the Hood, Parenting


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