Have you ever felt superfluous, unneeded, an afterthought, just one more item on the agenda? Have you been so entrenched in a role that when the second act comes, you are surprised when they changed the play on you? No longer the leading man, only a bit player in the chorus has become your billing. Kids can do that to you.
How dare they grow up and get all adult on me. Daughter Carrie and her new husband, Jeremy (the same two that I married back in August) are arriving for a visit for the weekend. Their plane is scheduled to arrive sometime around six this evening. So far so good. Normally it would fall to dear old mom and dad to pick them up at the airport, take them out to eat, and then bring them home to share our happy little home. I expect to do those things. I want to do those things. That is my role, an offshoot of the nurturing and providing and support that I provided my children as they were growing up. But nobody told me that once they did grow up that dear old dad would become dear old whomever.
Mary is the quintessential mother and planner. She has always done the scheduling, the planning of activities, been the arbiter of time management. She also has been cast aside, rudely interrupted in her role. Perhaps we have overstepped our bounds in seeming to dictate how our children would spend their weekend visit HOME. We have been informed that they have their time all planned out and they will let us know when the will have time to drop in to see us during their visit.
Not only have they told us when they will see us, they have also made arrangements to stay, not here at HOME, but with Jon and Katie, our son, Carrie’s little brother, and his wife, at their house, unchaperoned by mom and dad and out of our influential orbit. What? They think they will have more fun there than here in the house they grew up in. Suddenly, I’m no fun anymore?
And get this. They have rented a car. That way I don’t have to pick them up at the airport. That way they can just come and go as they please. That way they can go and visit Jeremy’s folks first upon their arrival. That way I don’t have to lend them one of my vehicles for the weekend. That way they can be so damned independent and not feel obligated to me. How am I supposed to play the guilt card if they won’t deal it to me?
It’s just possible that they felt they could plan their own visit since Mary and I are going to be gone to the UW Badgers homecoming game tomorrow without them. What? They can’t just wait patiently for us to get home? I mean, come on, it’s homecoming weekend. We go to a homecoming football game while they come home and wait for our homecoming. Sounds fair to me. But no, they figure they can just go gallivanting around however they damn well please since I’m not going to be here to guide them and watch over them. And we had it all so well planned. Ungrateful brats.
Still I’m sure that once I actually get to lay eyes on my loving daughter all will be forgiven. We will laugh and have interesting discussions, disagreeing amiably, and agreeing wholeheartedly on the state of the world. She will try to explain to me what her research is all about and I will nod knowingly while remaining totally flummoxed by her lecture. But I will listen. And we will bemoan the shortness of the visit.
Whose idea was it that kids get to grow up and become adults with minds of their own that they use to torment their poor parents. That may be the way it’s supposed to be, but I don’t have to like it. Though our well-planned visit is being sidetracked by their own ideas, I figure someday I will get revenge. I am going to have the most spoiled grandkids in the history of the world. Hah, let them deal with that.