It’s the same routine every day. Grant, my youngest, comes home from school, gives me a quick hug, drops his backpack on the floor with a thud, strips off his jacket and shirt to admire his toned abs (have they changed since this morning?), then stands in front of the fridge and freezer, holding both doors open, looking for food. This is all within the first two minutes of opening the door.
He will then grab something to eat (or complain that there’s STILL NOTHING IN THIS HOUSE TO EAT), then walk upstairs, taking two steps at a time, leaving a trail of said backpack and clothing where they fell and maybe a refrigerator door and cabinet door open too. What am I going to do with this boy?!
While this daily routine is oh, so annoying, and will NOT hold up when he’s a grown man coming home to his family, I have to remind myself that there are worse things. Way worse things. Rather than fuming over how thoughtless and irresponsible he is being, I try to find the humor in it. It’s so absurd, it’s comical. I mean, the whole bit about admiring his abs – can you imagine your husband coming home and doing this on a daily basis? (It’s bad enough he does it at all, am I right ladies?)
While seeing the humor in such things helps and keeps me from pulling my hair out, literally, there’s a fine line to walk. What’s worth coming down on kids for and what isn’t? It can’t just depend on my mood because that’s not fair – yesterday’s transgression goes unmentioned while the same thing today makes fire shoot out of my eyes? Uh-uh, that won’t work. Maybe the answer is in the impact the thing has on the family. Grant does come back downstairs after about 30 minutes and picks up his stuff and gets himself something to eat. And he tells me about his day. All’s well.
But other times, he leaves a pile of clean laundry outside the laundry room floor for days, requiring people to step over it to do their own laundry. Or he doesn’t do homework for a week and all of his grades tank. Those are bigger things. Thankfully, we aren’t dealing with any REALLY big stuff at this point (knock on wood). Those things will require us to stop thinking of his charming quirks and start being very serious about the serious things going on. But where I can laugh it off as something just charming but ridiculous, I will. And to me, being able to keep that perspective is part of good parenting.