Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Presidents Day (Friday Roundup)

In honor of Presidents Day ... while the rest of you are buying new furniture and bed sheets, I will be taking my high school junior on her First Official College Visit that is:
(a) to a campus I would have never have chosen for her and has me scratching my head, asking, "Where did I go wrong?";
(b) alerting me to the fact that she has never truly cleaned a bathroom on her own and is certain to offend and alienate any future roommates; and
(c) reminding me that I'm almost through making all of her decisions for her.

I remain hopeful that:
(a) she will visit many, many campuses that will encourage her to open her eyes;
(b) she will discover that the bathroom floor is no substitute for a trash can; and
(c) she will let me make one more decision, one that will help carry on the family tradition and lead her to end up here.

And that leads me to this next story ... which is not really a story at all, but more of a memory. A reminiscence. One of my good friends in elementary school was the fourth of five kids. I would walk to her house several times a week—almost always on Saturdays—and all these teen-agers would be there, hanging out, playing basketball in the driveway, sitting around the kitchen table and being all teen-agery. As the oldest kid in my own house, I loved going to thishouse so that I could be one of the annoying younger kids. I would sit in the grass and listen to the 14- and 16- and 17-year-olds as they delivered quick and witty teen-ager cutdowns while they played basketball. Sometimes they would allow us younger kids to sit in the den with them while they ... who knows what they did. I think they just hung out. No video games, no computers, no texting. Just hanging out. I don't remember any smoking, cussing or other carrying on that you might suspect. It was all very innocent and wonderful. Sometimes they would even ask me a question, or let me talk.

The mom, with her long, platinum, Cheryl Ladd hair and her casual ways, went about her business, always leaving the front and back doors open for anybody and everybody to come and go as they wished. She always had Cheetos and Little Debbie cakes on hand and didn't hover or interfere or nag about homework. She was there, but she wasn't so there that we noticed her.

She hosted with an unceremonious approach that attracted neighborhood kids. Her own kids were fairly normal—smart, popular, well-rounded. Not so much because of what their mom did, but maybe because of what she didn't do. I'm no sociologist, but maybe there's something there. Maybe I need to let more things go. (Gosh, this is starting to sound like a confessional.)

And while that story may seem to have come out of left field, it popped into my brain this morning for a reason. Maybe that reason is that our lives have recently been SO dominated by kids' schedules this past week that I have found myself gripping the steering wheel with seething resentment—not because I don't want my kids to have full lives or fun-filled days or because I mind transporting them—but because we don't seem to live near anywhere they need/want to go.

No matter how much you love your kids, I love mine more. But if I could have raised them in the late '70s, who knows? Maybe it would have been easier? Simpler?

And the winner is ... well, you'll have to mosey on over to here to see who won this week's give-away at the book review blog. And be sure to check that site Monday for a new post.

Happy weekend. And whether you observe or ignore Valentine's Day, I hope yours is super.