Every mother fancies herself the epi-center of her child’s existence, and I am certainly no exception. When My youngest daughter packed and left for college, last August, I truly believed there was never a child more distraught to be wrenched from the arms of their mother. For months we were besieged with texts depicting the deepest depths of darkest despair. In fact, so palpable was her homesickness, I thought we would never be able to send her back to Arkansas after Fall Break to finish out her semester.
So, imagine my astonishment when I learned that she WOULD NOT BE RETURNING to the loving bosom of her family to spend the summer. She has secured a nanny position in Dallas and plans to live with my mother.
It seems that NO ONE in all of Oklahoma, requires the services of a Full-time Nanny. The only people in these entire United States, that actually DO need a SUMMER Nanny, randomly live in Dallas. Coincidentally, so does my daughter’s new boyfriend. Considering what a big state Texas is, it’s even more remarkable that he resides just minutes from my mom’s house. You were right Mr. Disney, it IS a small world after all!
This is not my mother’s first time around the block with a challenging, self-absorbed teenager (yes, my siblings were a handful). Last week, she informed us that she would be drawing up a contract for her new ROOMIE to sign. As soon as she finished drafting the aforementioned document, she promptly emailed it to me and my husband (aka “The Guarantors,”) for full disclosure. There aren’t words to express how delighted I was when it popped into my inbox this morning.
Upon perusal, I found immediate clause for concern:
The Curfew Clause:
Mom has a curfew for in mind. We never actually imposed a curfew on our kids, because, in this day and age of cell phones, it was easier for them to just connect with us hourly; besides we haven’t slept in over 20 years. Throughout each step of their evening, our teens apprise us of their plans, and either receive a “green light” or a “get your booty home now!” It’s our family’s middle-of-the-night version of the classic children’s game, “Red Light/Green Light.” Grandma does not like this game and expects her granddaughter to pull in to the driveway at what a 75-year-old woman considers “a reasonable hour.”
The Tidiness Clause:
It seems grandma would prefer her tenant’s personal effects not be “strewn about the house,” but rather, be confined to her personal quarters. She may need to expand her definition of “personal quarters,” as my daughter considers her living space to be inclusive of, but not limited to, all of Planet Earth. The entire 18 years that this child lived under my roof, she routinely established small domains throughout the home. These areas started out as juice boxes, hair bows and Barbies, and graduated through the years to cell phones, lap tops, retainers, articles of clothing, and other minutia. This was a daily assault on the OCD that I inherited from my mother, yet, failed to pass on to my own children. As I write this, the theme song from “The Odd Couple” is stuck in my head. That was my mom’s favorite show in the 70s. Hopefully, Mom still finds that entire scenario amusing.
The Date Night Clause:
To say the least, this is a delicate topic to broach at any age, but apparently, when you’re 75, there’s no need to mince words…Grammie just laid it on out there.
Per the contract, on the nights that my mother’s “Gentleman Friend” comes to call, henceforth and forewith to be referred to as Date Night, my girl is to scram. This is the geriatric version of a necktie on the doorknob. The good news is that Grandma has graciously offered to sponsor her roommates’s evening out on those particular nights. This kid’s two favorite words to hear are, “My Treat!” She should have no problem making herself scarce when Grandma bribes her accordingly.
My daughter has enthusiastically described her summer arrangement as a “win/win,” but she hasn’t actually laid eyes on this contract yet, particularly the codicil at the end, whereby Grandma reserves the right to attach addendums to the agreement, throughout the summer on an “as needed” basis. (Thereby negating the entire concept of a contractual relationship?)
If I thought for one second that any of my kids were inclined to honor an agreement, I would’ve dipped all their little newborn feet in ink before we left the hospital, had them sign off on my terms and conditions and enjoyed considerably more Mama-leverage than I do today…
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