My 75 year old mother just pulled out of my driveway this morning, headed back to Texas, after a short visit here…
The great thing about Mom, is that she doesn’t arrive with an expectation to be entertained. Coming here is a pseudo-business trip for her, so there’s no need to wine and dine her. I’ve come to realize that, while Mom allows her children to live out in the world on their own, she really believes that she is the Chief Operating Officer of this corporation we call a family. She works exhaustively while she is here evaluating our operation; she probably writes the trip off on her taxes. She rides alongside me as I run my errands and perform my daily activities, offering an Audible-Audit with suggestions on how to improve our overall functionality. We are graded on categories ranging from primarily minor issues, such as profitability (“Why do you buy straws at the grocery store when you can simply grab a handful at Subway?”) to potentially major and life-threatening, (Good parents don’t let their children play football!!!) Here are just a few of the oversights from this week, in which we fell well below the expectations of CORPORATE…
DRIVERS ED GRADE: FAIL
Just because YOU are behind the wheel of the car, and, at a glance, appear to be the driver, one must understand that if Mom is anywhere in the car, SHE is the actual driver. Doris is the original Siri and and in most cases puts Siri to shame. She doesn’t have to hide in your cell phone like a coward to tell you which way to turn. She’s an “upgrade” in that she also tells you WHEN to turn your blinker on, WHEN to execute the turn, WHERE to park once you’ve mastered the turn sequence, and how close to get to the other cars around you. She expresses white-knuckles-on-the-dashboard concern each and every time I pull into my garage (a relatively unchallenging maneuver that I manage to perform successfully several times a day, even when she isn’t in town.) As we are driving down the road, she will often shriek loudly if another car gets within several hundred feet of us, I’m sure that’s to check my responses and reflexes. “Driving Miss Doris” is truly an interactive experience and definitely not for the easily intimidated.
CHILD PROTECTION/CHILD ENDANGERMENT GRADE: NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
In addition to our typical schedule of football practice & games, basketball practice & games, carpool, groceries and other Mommy Minutia, this week provided the added challenge of an MRI on my son’s recent football injury, along with the requisite orthopedic consultations and discussions about whether or not to have a surgery, which would allow him to continue to play football in his Senior year. This afforded Mom the opportunity to assess our competence during a real- life “parenting dilemma” and grade us on our overall handling of this situation. We seemed to score slightly better here, than in the driving category, but that’s because My husband was involved, which I’m sure falsely inflated my score… (Mom is enamored with Jimmy and it’s quite obvious that somewhere through the years, her memory twisted around and she genuinely thinks she raised HIM and didn’t meet ME until our wedding) Every conversation we had about the pros and cons of the shoulder surgery, prompted Grandma to shake her head in disappointment and offer Pearls of Wisdom, such as, “If he injures himself again, he won’t do well on the ACT and get into a good college!” Rebuttals such as, “Grandma, his shoulder doesn’t affect his brain functioning” were dismissed as excuses and further evidence of weak and inept parenting skills.
HOME SECURITY GRADE: FAIL
There was a ton of controversy a while back over security at the White House, culminating with the resignation of Julia Pierson, Director of the Secret Service. They simply had the wrong person in charge. If you really want to keep the White House safe, fire all those Secret Service Agents and hire a widow in her 70s- like Mom. She is positively convinced that someone is attempting to break into our home, all day, every day. To steal exactly what, she won’t say. She was appalled by our constant breeches of security. She kept telling me to lock the doors and finally I said, (exasperated) “But Mom, Tommy is out on the driveway shooting baskets – won’t we then be, in effect, locking him out there with all the Bad Guys???” ( I should get a few points added back into my Child Protection /Child Endangerment category for this vigilant maternal observation!)
Yesterday, I took the trash can out to the street and was literally locked out of my house, when I attempted to re-enter just 2 short minutes later. I stood there knocking on my OWN door and ringing my OWN doorbell. Eventually, she came to the door and yelled in a terrified voice, ” WHO IS IT?” To which I respond (admittedly agitated). “It’s Me, Mom, your daughter, The Homeowner”. She let me in…
I can’t imagine how difficult it must’ve been for her to leave here this morning; abandoning her grandchildren to be recklessly driven around to football games, whilst people are breaking into our home stealing our belongings. But, alas, she can’t spend all her time in Oklahoma…. I have a sister in Dallas and a brother in Louisiana, who must be doing God-Only-Knows-What down there to their kids, homes and cars. I wonder if I should call them and tell the to lock their doors?