Some years ago we moved into an old house that had huge windows in the kitchen. From the time my mother saw those windows she wanted me to hang curtains on them. I think our first conversation went something like, "What kind of curtains are you going to put on the windows?" I said, "I don't plan to put curtains on the windows."
Several weeks later Mom brought me an ad from the newspaper. A fabric store was having a sale on curtain material. She would be happy to make curtains for me. "Mom, I don't plan to cover the windows," I said.
A few months later it was, "Curtains would sure finish this kitchen off nicely."
I never did get curtains for that kitchen. I also don't think my mother ever gave up hinting that I should.
Once my husband, our daughter and I went out to dinner. Our oldest son was our waiter He was also the waiter for the table next to ours.
During the evening we heard the woman at the next table ask our son if he would wrap up the rest of her dinner, as she wanted to take it with her. He said, "Sure," and disappeared with her food. A few minutes later we saw him serving salads at another table.
My husband commented, "I wonder if he's going to remember that woman's food." I said, "I don't know. Do you think we should remind him?" My husband said no. Later when we saw our son place a Styrofoam container on the table next to us, we both breathed a sigh of relief.
I was telling my partner, who also has grown children, about this incident. She started laughing and then admitted that just the other day she was at her son's apartment. When he left the room she casually poked her fingers in the flower pots, checking to see if the plants had been watered.
In her head she kept saying, "Serra, stop it." But she couldn't resist checking and making sure that he was doing what he was supposed to.
This story reminded me of another friend whose son got a job on a river boat. Before leaving for his first day on the job she gave him a hug, wished him well, and then added, "And be careful not to fall off the boat." Before giving this advice she had told herself, "Don't say it. Don't say it." But somehow she couldn't resist saying it anyway.
Through the years we've all excused our children's behavior with the saying, kids will be kids. Maybe we need a complementary saying — parents will be parents.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,” and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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