Thursday, January 22, 2009

Raising those people....

I came to the realization this weekend that despite my good intentions I am raising my children to become those people. You know the kind: the person at work who is never on time, the person who never sends thank you notes, the person who's house is a wreck. Now this is not intentional on my part. I like to think I have at least a modicum of responsibility but in hindsight I can see where I made my mistakes and upon reflection I can see where I get most of my idiosyncratic ways.

Lateness has always been in issue for me. It was forged in my childhood thanks to my mother and I can honestly say her views on late folks were dead on target. Christmas celebrations were a bone of contention with my mother when we had to spend it with our extended family. We would be at my grandmother’s house and present opening would begin at 7 p.m., only it wouldn’t because X relative hadn’t shown up yet. There were times we would be waiting 2-3 hours for them to arrive and man did that steam my Mom. I can’t recall a time she was ever late to any function. If she said we were going to eat at 5, you best have your hind end in a chair at 5 because she wasn’t going to let the food get cold waiting on you.

My father was equally as bad. When traveling from California to Georgia on the way back from the Philippines in 1976, he had a plan. A driving plan. Living in military housing my Dad would not allow us to put anything on the walls, no posters, no pictures, no art, nothing, because we would have to move one day and he might have to patch the walls to pass inspection. When we left the Philippines he nailed a big map of the continental US on our living room wall and then nailed our route from California to Georgia and then to our final destination in Minnesota. Additionally, he ran string along the route – what can I say, it was the height of popularity for string art. Can I hang my Donny Osmond poster? No way. But he can nail 100+ nails in the wall for our trip. Any who. In the time post Map Quest I am not sure how he did this but he would say that we were arriving on November 23 at 2:27 pm and by God that is when we would arrive. Can we stop at the Grand Canyon Dad? No, we have a time schedule to keep. And don’t ask what happened if you had to go to the bathroom but visions of black garbage bags and a mountainside in Tennessee haunt me to this day.

So I can see where I get my time-sticklerness from. And the fact that I have reared more than one of my children to be oblivious to the fact that the hands on the clock actually go around - drives me insane. Barbie is so late to work so often that at her first job they would call the house to make sure she was up and on her way to work. Isn’t that sweet? I thought she had grown out of the “late” phase because for several weeks she was getting up all on her own and getting to work on time. I can’t tell you how proud I was of her, however this too shall pass (the arriving on time, not the proudness). Lately, she has been leaving the house 5 minutes after she was supposed to be at work. Our last discussion on the matter went like this:

Mrs. Ohtobe: Did you get in trouble for being late again?
Barbie: No. *giving her Mother a look like she is an idiot*
Mrs. Ohtobe: Well, you need to get there on time because when you get a real job being late is something they can fire you over. Plus, the other employees don’t like folks who aren’t on time.
Barbie: I have a real job.
Mrs. Ohtobe: Um no you don’t. How much money do you make?
Barbie: Minimum wage.
Mrs. Ohtobe: Ok, when you have a job that pays more than minimum wage, they will care if you are late.

Or maybe they won’t. Simba is the same way when it comes to attending class. She is on time for work, you don’t come between Simba and her money but class… well that is less important. Since Simba wants to be a teacher I asked her how she would feel about her students not coming to class or always being late. She said she wouldn’t tolerate it. I guess it is a case of do as I say and not as I do. I don’t know what kind of teacher she will be but sounds like she has the makings of a great parent.

As for the thank you notes I mentioned earlier: Frodo and Buttercup’s wedding was 1 month and 2 days ago and still no thank you notes sent out. Buttercup said the other day that I should be glad she is even working on the cards because most of her friends wouldn’t know to send them or would just elect not to send them. Gasp. I said that I was glad she knew to and that she needs to get them done and that because she knew that I knew she knew she couldnt get away with not sending any. But alas, they still aren’t done.

I am sure that every generation thinks this of the one coming up: but what on earth is this world coming to? They will bring down the fall of civilization because they don’t know how to write a thank you note, or address an envelope or arrive on time. What will become of us because they can’t clean up after themselves, or take the trash out or or or…

On a lighter note after 20 years of mothering experience, I have learned that God put hinges on their bedroom doors for a reason. The rest of it is just a matter of time, literally and figuratively.


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