One of the most stressful parts of this whole business of the emptying nest is that I now have a houseful of people over whom I have a rapidly diminishing amount of control.
And believe me there isn’t much sign of the rational problem solving and self-control that one might expect to come with maturity.
Traumatic as they were at the time, the crises of childhood and pre-adolescence were at least short-lived. The chocolate bar pried from determined little hands at the supermarket check-out, or the tiff with a friend may have seemed like the end of the world at the time, but you could at least be sure that within 5 minutes the healing would begin.
Oh how I dream of those explosively brief over-reactions. Nowadays the dramas are bigger, the voices are louder and frankly the language is taking on some brutally vivid shades of nutjob.
My youngest just saved up his money and bought a second-hand dirt bike which so far has been nothing but trouble and is proving to be less than a bargain. He’s murderously angry … and so like a man in his determination to assign blame for everything.
If I had $1,000 in spare change under the sofa cushions I would toss the stupid thing out and buy him a new one with a nice shiny guarantee. I know, I know … I’m told by friends and acquaintances all over that children should be taught fiscal responsibility and respect for their belongings by buying their own stuff. My weakness is clearly the cause of the dysfunction in this family, and I can only imagine the harmony that exists in the houses of those lucky folk who have it all so figured out, and whose children, presumably, are perfect.
The teen heartbreak of course continues. My daughter still pines over a young man who tossed her aside under pressure from his fanatical family, and apparently God. Neither of them is moving on because neither of them wanted to break-up, but it turns out it’s not that easy to get over someone who keeps texting to say how much they miss you.
It’s touching that he feels close enough to my daughter to pass on all the terrible things his mother says about her, but it’s not doing much for her self-esteem.
I’m trying to stay open-minded and accept that Mrs Stepford is really only doing what she feels is best for her son, even though that involves running roughshod over his feelings – and those of the caring, bright and highly respectable girl that he loves. In fact, in a perverse kind of way I almost envy her that single-minded certainty; is it possible that free-thought, common sense and logic are over-rated? It must be quite comfortable to just do and believe whatever you’re told regardless of whether it’s right or rational.
For some reason this post has taken me days to write – possibly because I feel like I’m absorbing and assimilating all the crazy and I’m really trying not to rant (too much!).
So, I will sign off for now and sail off in search of calmer waters.