Last night a friend called Sandor and asked him to spend the night. I said something like, “yes, after you finish your homework.” Lexie, who is nineteen and home from college, looked at me as though I was rolling a joint at the dinner table. “But it’s Sunday! He can’t spend the night on a school night!”
I just shrugged. “I’m getting soft in my old age.”
Right now I have a boat load of young friends with brand new babies. I love looking at all their adorable pictures on facebook, baby toes and fingers, funny hats and faces smeared with food. But I need to warn them all. You’ll have all kinds of high minded ideas, rules and practices for that first child. That kid will be astonishingly healthy, cultured and educated. And it’s existence on earth will be documented, pictures will be taken every hour.
But something happens with the third or fourth child. My mother had massive photo albums of my two older brothers but I guess she ran out of film by the time I came along. I literally can’t find a picture of “little girl me” with either of my parents. I have a storage unit full of her black and white family photos but I’m not even in the family portraits taken by the church when I was six and eight years old. I remember my mom getting so frustrated with my tangled hair that she decided to leave me at home with the maid.
Last week I laughed as I walked up and down the cereal isle at Kroger looking for Coco Puffs. For the first fifteen years I had an ironclad rule. I did not buy colored cereal, only the tan stuff, so no Lucky Charms, no Capt. Crunch with Crunch Berries.
I still have a few rules I take seriously. I’ve never let the kids have tvs or computers in their rooms. I want to be able to look over a shoulder and see what they are looking at. There’s no doubt they’d be all over www.bigboob.com if I didn’t peek. And when they spend all their time in their room, I get too lonesome. We still don’t have any Playstation or Nintendo things at the house. They can play all they want when they visit friends, but I don’t care for them.
As long as they make good grades, have good manners, say yes sir and know how to shake hands I still try to pick and choose my battles. If Sandor want’s a stupid hair cut I’ll probably just roll my eyes and say ok if he’s on the honor roll.
So far the system has worked out pretty well. Yeah, I let the youngest eat bad cereal and go out on school nights but seriously, no smoking crack in the kitchen.