|Raising four teenagers is a challenge, but they can almost raise themselves now.|
Unfortunately my desire to remain 'in control' prevents me from enjoying a clean kitchen, spotless house and a chore-less life. Yeah, I know I still have to be the boss but the past couple days I've made an important discovery - teenagers can actually be an amazing group of humans!
Judy is off to Ocala to help Melissa with the birth of Jack, our 6th grandchild I think. Yikes! My memory is so iffy.
When I met Judy she was in proprietorship of Sesha, Kyndra, Melissa, Leslie, Laura and Adam. We then had Jincy and Ruairi together.
Kyndra's two children, Dylan and Dharma are 16 and 14. Their mum is now challenged with the after effects of a serious cerebral bleeding episode and while she is doing physical therapy her two are living with Judy and I.
|They think they'd rather play video games but enjoy the beach if I make them go...|
The kitchen has been another issue, keeping the sink free of piles of dishes has in the past been difficult when 'Nana' off and about. In the past when Judy was gone I would try and keep order via demands, orders and ultimatums. 'Don't do this' and 'don't do that' were my kitchen mantras. But the sink would still pile up with dishes. It was so frustrating! Last thing I need with a dissected aorta is stress, right?
After repeated failures at being a successful kitchen dictator I thought I'd try something new this time. Maybe I'd treat them like almost adults instead of little kids.
So I said as Judy left something like, "OK now you are the grownups in the house. You are in charge of the kitchen and bathroom. You figure out what to cook, when and clean up afterwards. I don't care anymore." The last sentence was a spiteful unnecessary bard said out of needless anxiety.
Three days now and I am wondering why I didn't ever think of this before. The kitchen has stayed spotless, they have had fun cooking what they want and laughed and sang to stupid teenager songs while cleaning up after themselves.
All they needed was a little freedom and a chance to act better than many grown ups I know.
Jincy and Ruairi are challenged with many trials. They both fight slightly enlarged aortas with lifestyle modification. They both push themselves in school (Jincy is graduating with her AA degree because she dual enrolled in college while a junior and senior in high school) and they have to deal with me. Jincy is my true secret weapon though. Turn her loose as commander in chief of chores, laundry, trash and food decisions and the other three say "yes, mam!' No one, especially younger teens, messes with a tall, imposing and almost 18 year old female.
Dyland and Dharma are worried about their mum and miss being at home. They both, too, are doing very well in school. I suspect as a child I would have crashed mentally without my parents. And Jincy is moving away next month so their support system found in an older 'sib' will be gone. Yes, they are amazing. But they really need their mom. Even though grandparents can be nurturing, life without a parent is so different. Incredibly though, they are not only a pleasure to have living here, they also contribute so much quality themselves to the unique texture of our patch-work family.
So all the worry about scrubbing piles of dishes was a self-fulfilling prophecy in the before. When I worried about it and paced the kitchen floor asking to see identification if anyone entered, the whole kitchen thing was an ordeal.
Now, well I told Judy over the phone that the kitchen is actually cleaner than I could keep it in my floppy heart condition. And the kids are storing leftovers and budgeting food, sharing equally between them. And they are laughing instead of sulking past my kitchen patrol duty.
Wow. Just when I think I know it all. Dylan and Ruairi are headed out the door now to catch the school bus. I'll never know just how they make it down to the end of the street in two minutes but they always do. I'd take me an hour to hobble that far.
Dylan just turned and said, "bye, Papa K. I love you."
At 57, I still get a tear in the corner of my eye sometimes.