Isn’t it every parent’s wish, besides health, happiness and a life brimming with rich experiences, that their child will become a good human being? You know – empathic, socially-responsible, a recycler.
Well I’m trying to do my part, both by speaking the words and by acting consistent with my beliefs. I’ll let you judge how successful I’ve been in these three true vignettes:
My son’s words, upon learning that his sister and dad were returning early from their biking trip: “Aaaack!”
Me, watching him wheel and head for the fridge: What are you doing?
Him: Eating brownies. When Dad gets home there won’t be any left for me.”
A conversation I had with my daughter the other day, after she’d visited her former employer.
Molly: Well that was weird. Their shelves are a mess and I had to keep shoving my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t organize them.
Me: While you’re inspired, there’s a bedroom with your name on it. God knows your closet alone could use the attention.
Molly, her eyes now half-lidded: Why would I want to do that? I know exactly where everything is. It’s not like I get paid to do it.
Me, knowingly: Oh, virtue has its rewards…
Me: Pride…a sense of self-respect…and most important of all, your mother’s eternal gratitude.
Molly: *snorts* Why would I care about that?
Lastly, a conversation with my son which must be prefaced with a personal confession:
I am not a great housekeeper. I also have zero plans to change that any time soon. Yet there’s still a little part of me that would rather not be judged and found wanting in this arena. So a common strategy I employ is to make pre-emptive jokes at my own expense, with the understanding that the listener will laugh, be disarmed, and permit me to change the topic. This was one such occasion:
My son, regarding a task I’d committed to finishing during his school day, then hadn’t: Mo-omm, I thought you said you were doing this.
Me, with a chuckle: I think you forgot who you’re dealing with. This is your mother, remember? Not Suzy Q Homemaker. When his frown remained firmly anchored. “Also, I was very busy.”
Him: Doing what?
Me: Oh, writing…organizing…taking a nap.
Him, hands on hips, young-old eyes flashing disdain: Face it, Mom, you’re a slacker.
Ugh!! Ugh!! You know my response to that?
Too bad we haven’t had guests over in a millenia.