Thursday, July 20, 2017

19 Lessons from My Boys

My tenure as a parent can, generously, be called a continuing on the job training program. And after almost twenty years on the job, I can confidently say I'm still in an entry level position. There are many muted Etsy visual renderings of quotes celebrating that kids are the best teachers; though I am not 100% on board with the qualifier, I certainly have learned a lot from my boys. Here is a partial list:

Lessons from Boys
  1. Put your clothes anywhere, at some point someone will get annoyed enough to move them.
  2. If the dishwasher is closed, it must be off limits.
  3. If Mom's in the house, she's assuming the risk of servitude.
  4. At some point procrastination will obliterate duty.
  5. Baskets of clean clothes and baskets of dirty clothes are indistinguishable; so they must all be dirty.
  6. Lost items are never my fault.
  7. Most things are Mom's fault.
  8. Parents never answer their phones or text with with the immediacy dictated by current social norms.
  9. Parents' priorities are
    1. Kids
    2. Pets
    3. Chores
    4. Duty
    5. Hopes & Dreams(though this category is obviously a sum of the previous four)
  10. Guilt applied at the appropriate focal point of parental exhaustion can be fruitful.
  11. Parents must be trained to knock at all times
  12. Parents should be clothed at all times because knocking is for chumps...and parents.
  13. No matter what parents are in the middle of, it can wait.
  14. Saying 'Thank you." relaxes Mom more than wine.
  15. Admitting they were right comes at a cost, best not to do it at all.
  16. Doing a chore without being asked once a quarter buys you a lot of leeway.
  17. Apparently parents will love you no matter what.
  18. But they're still too clingy.
  19. Organic apple juice sucks.
It is true that actions speak louder than words, as most of the above lessons I have learned by observation of habits formed as a result of co-habitating. Many of these same lessons could be applied to any roommate set-up. These are the quick jokes. Here are the lessons that I keep learning:
  1. Be here, for no particular reason. It's just good to know.
  2. I'm never going to like chores.
  3. I'm never going to like homework
  4. Sometimes bravery looks the same as getting out of bed.
  5. Being a dick around you helps me avoid it elsewhere.
  6. Just feed me, it will solve 75% of my problems.
  7. Trust me.
  8. I heard you. What you said 37 times is somewhere in my head.
  9. I need you but don't want you to know that I need you; so, just know when I need you.
  10. Sometimes I'm gonna want to talk to Dad instead. I still love you.
  11. Sometimes I'm gonna need the dogs more than either of you.
  12. I do notice everything you do. The only reason I don't do it is because I don't care about it as much as you do right now.
  13. I don't want to be the reason you worry, that's why I don't tell you everything.
  14. Read my mind, like know when I need deodorant, but don't assume you know me.
  15. I want to feel in control too, that's why I pick fights.
  16. Making you really laugh, not fake "I 'm encouraging you" laugh, makes me feel grown up.
  17. Life lessons will be learned, you don't have to make an after-school special about it.
  18. Apparently parents will love you no matter what.
  19. Organic apple juice sucks
As my job training continues, I will keep trying to rise above cynicism, to Alan Turing their code, remember that learning requires failing and lay off the organic apple juice. Maybe one day I'll make it out of the mail room.