One way to get out of a funk is to put everything aside, throw some clothes in a suitcase and drive 5 hours to see friends you haven’t seen in 20 years. With only minimal planning, we left Youngest Daughter at home and went to my 30th college reunion. Three of my college friends (plus my husband, who is also a college friend) came to the reunion; other than that, I was anonymous, which was just fine with me. That’s the way an introvert likes a reunion.
For 24 hours I did not think about those things that have been irking me – no newspapers, no e-mail, no radio. It was great! Instead, my focus of concern was that we left YD at home alone for 24 hours. People tell me there is a movie of this name, but I have never seen it. People also warn me that I should not watch it just before leaving my child home alone.
I left YD a note taped to the front door, reminding her what to take to her marching band event. I was proud of my balance of the maternal Need to Remind with the contradictory Avoidance of Parenting Helicoptorially. I simply wrote, “Take key! Turn on outside light!”
Before we left, though, my husband added more instructions all over my note, exhibiting a futile Hope for Useful Labor from a Teenager. “Feed the fish! Rake the leaves! Tote that barge! Lift that bale!”
|Those chores dilute my message, which was, "don't lock yourself out of the house."|
I called YD Saturday afternoon just to see how she was doing. She said sweetly, “Thank you for the note, Mommy!” I expressed equivalent gratitude to her. Then she said in a commanding voice, “Tell Daddy that except for feeding the fish, I am not going to do any of those things he wrote on there.” And she didn’t.
So all three of us had a good weekend. When we got home, I asked her, “What happened here while we were away?” She said, “Nothing happened, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”