Safe At Home
My husband and I have the pleasure and sometimes the pain of having two adult children living with us. They are pretty much grown-ups. They have college degrees, real jobs (even benefits and a 401K) and a credit card. They wear suits and can discuss in detail subjects such as: IPOs; what an S-1 is; say things like “we are somewhat risk adverse with that particular client”; understand top line profits and have taken quite an interest in the European debt crisis. They could try to explain all these things and more to me in English, Spanish and Chinese and add a power point presentation, if needed. They are fun to have around. Dinner conversation is more interesting, a trip to Costco makes more sense and they can pick up bread at the store if I forgot. Aside from the fact that they can’t quite afford to move out yet, they are the model of maturity.
For some reason, despite their demonstrated abilities to be grown-ups, I can’t seem to stop myself from getting caught up in that completely lose-lose area of trying to parent these twenty-somethings. Now that I get to see their personal habits and lives up close, I see so many ways that I can help them improve themselves. There is just so much they don’t know! Managing their health, navigating the workplace, fashion, fitness, dating, personal hygiene, driving, car maintenance, finance, the 5 year plan. You name it, I have advice for it. I either read about it, saw it on the Today show, got a mass email about it or even had personal experience. Therefore, I’m confident that I know SO much more than they do that I’m quite qualified to be involved all levels.
Most of the time, I remind myself of the “lose-lose” element to parental advice and manage to keep my mouth shut about it all. That doesn’t mean that worried thoughts don’t follow me around. Things like whether they’re going to get up for work on time, eat a good breakfast, cut themselves with the bagel knife, leave the stove on, get in an accident on the freeway, get lost, get carjacked, get road raged, run out of gas at night in Compton, lose their cell phones, get a poor work review, pay the credit card bill on time, walk alone in a dark parking lot, drink too much, date a jerk, don’t have any dates, get a flu shot (I mean it, Ben!), skin cancer, identity theft, washing their hands before eating, Hepatitis A, bird flu, earthquakes, tape worms, nuclear fallout from Japan, e-coli, tsunami(s), salmonella, bed bugs, aspartame, tuberculosis exposure, Ragnarok, terrorist attack and hantavirus. Wait, I almost forgot about hearing loss from loud music, polar ice cap melting and mosquito-borne diseases!
That is just a regular Tuesday for me. It’s even worse if they’re out for the night, as I can’t quite get to sleep until they get home. Unless it’s after 8pm, then I’m already asleep.
I’m exhausted and I’m pretty sure this is making me age prematurely. I want my days of ignorance and denial back. Some of this is sort of like watching how sausage is made; you’re way better off NOT knowing. Catching up once a week over a steak and a nice bottle of wine and getting the glossed over highlights sounds lovely about now. Maybe, I’ll be the one to move out…just to give my mind a little rest.