Kids Rule

One of the perks of vanlife is being able to be carry on with “normal” life – working – while visiting our kids. When we got to Nevada, where our son Connor and his family live, he told us to make ourselves at home. My how times have changed. Back in the day, he and Jake, our two oldest, had one hard and fast rule for me – I was not allowed to talk to their friends.

Maybe I shouldn’t have complained. After all, I had a lot of leeway. I was free to cook “good” food, clean their rooms, and make my car available 24/7. I could “loan” them $10 and come up with a Mardi Gras feast when their friends dropped by. I could find their socks stuffed in the sofa and if I was lucky their plates under the bathroom sink. I was occasionally allowed to put an arm around their broad shoulders or to steal a peck on a stubbly cheek.

But no talking to the friends. I learned this the hard way. Running around preparing for a 16th birthday party, I was all excited. Since we were old-fashioned and insisted on being home during such events, I’d been coming up with conversation starters: “So, it looks like you’re having mixed results with the new acne med?”, and “How do your parents afford two new cars – what does your dad make, anyway?” I was going to be the fun parent, fit in with the kids and not lurk around like a thug. I’d seen the type, usually chaperoning at school dances.

Before anyone arrived, before I even had a chance to offer some onion dip, my big boys sat me down and without preamble told me how things were going to be. “Mom, don’t talk to anyone about anything,” Connor said.

I was indignant. I tried to explain that the only time I had ever said anything was at the urging of their own peers, who wanted to hear stories about “when they got in trouble.” What mom wouldn’t share some of the best moments?

“No. Nothing,” added Jake. Then they left to shave their chins.

Ok, I wouldn’t hang out with the kids, I’d just make them feel welcome. So, when they started tramping in like they owned the place I was there with a smile. But before I could point the way to the taquitos I was escorted to my office and shackled to my desk. “You can have 3 hours on the computer, mom,” said Jake. “This is a first offense so we’ll be lenient, but don’t let it happen again.”

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