Real Mistakes, Real Laughs:

Air bases were built on captured islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam but they were barley within the range of the long-range bombers.

(hope the bombadiers weren't on gluten-free diets)

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Their House Is Not Your Home

It's one thing to know that your mother loves you unconditionally, that you can be yourself with your parents and take up residence in their empty nest should the need arise. It's quite another to take all that acceptance for granted and make no effort to remember that parents deserve courtesy and consideration, too.

While working out the other morning, I listened as one tired woman bemoaned the past month she had been unable to come to the gym. Her daughter, grandchild, and granddog (grand meaning size as well as relation)had moved in with her while her military son-in-law was deployed overseas. So, quarters are tight for a while; no big deal. After all, it's not as though she had octuplets to add to the six children already living in her mother's house. And I'm sure Mom would have said the same thing a month prior -- before the tornado-stricken bedroom that would put a teenager's to shame. Before the fecal specks on Mom's white bedspread, all the more infuriating because Mom had gone to the trouble of securing a changing table for the duration of her daughter's stay. Before the hair and dirty pawprints contributed by Daughter's bull-in-a-china-shop Great Dane. And before the skyrocketing utility bills exacerbated by Daughter's apathy toward lights ablaze in empty rooms.

Home should always be a soft place where you can fall, not your dirty laundry, dirty dishes, poopy diapers, or dog slobber. Adult children unhampered by physical or mental disabilities are not entitled to use their childhood home as a free crash pad with maid service. As Mom so eloquently put it, children forget that their parents have dreams, too. For 18-22 years, your parents are obliged to feed, clothe, educate, and nurture you. Beyond that, assuming you've developed a healthy life of your own, they don't owe you. You owe them for all they have done and continue to do. If your parents are generous enough to welcome the disruption of an adult child/family, be prepared to live by their rules, no matter how archaic or inconvenient you find them. Say thank you every day to Mom and to the universe that blessed you with such a haven.


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