|Ice in Houston? Mother Nature sends mixed messages, too|
I’ve sent mixed messages to my grown children. Why, then, am I startled when I get them back?
On a recent out-of-town trip, my husband and I and our daughters stayed in a hotel that offered a free breakfast. As Hubs and I finished our morning coffee, I asked him to phone our daughters’ room and remind them breakfast was being served just off the lobby.
He shook his head. “If they were in their twenties, I might remind them to eat breakfast, but they’re in their thirties. I’m not going to tell them to eat.”
Put that way, I saw my ridiculousness. My only excuse is that I look at my grown girls and see them as the adults they are and as their five-, ten-, and fifteen-year-old selves. I bite my tongue to keep from urging them to put on hats, keep their cars’ gas tanks half full, and wear sunscreen. (Okay, most of the time I bite my tongue. I’ve been known to ask if they’re warm enough, cool enough, or need a snack.)
You might expect a mother like me to be sentimental and treasure her grown kids’ softball trophies, Girl Scout uniforms, and stuffed animals. You’d be wrong. Once my daughters moved out, I reclaimed the house and only kept things of theirs I could repurpose to suit my needs.
When a recent cold snap hit Houston, my husband was traveling for business. He texted me to wrap the house’s exposed pipes—again. I’d already wrapped them in foam and duct tape and then looped toweling over the foam. “I’ll take care of it,” I said.
I looked around the garage and grabbed an old sleeping bag—the kind little kids take to slumber parties. I draped that around the outdoor spigot, tucked it around the piping, and stopped just short of telling it a bedtime story. For good measure, I shifted the garbage can so that it served as a windbreak. Done!
|Slumber bag wrapped around spigot|
A couple of days later, I left town, and Older Daughter came over to check the house, feed pets, and take out the trash. Wouldn’t you know the slumber bag I grabbed in haste belonged to her? She thought I’d thrown it out, and her feelings were hurt. “Why is my Beauty and the Beast sleeping bag in the trash?” she texted.
Guilt sank its claws into me. It didn’t matter that my daughter hasn’t slept in that slumber bag for at least two decades. “It isn’t in the trash. It’s next to the trashcans. I used it to wrap the pipes,“ I texted back.
“You’re not throwing it away?”
“No.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I usually use it to cover tropical plants during freezes.
“That’s okay then,” she texted back.
Whew. I resolved to wash the thing and move it into deep storage. That is, unless I could get rid of it for once and for all. “Would you like to take it home with you?”
“I don’t have room for it.”
Shoot. I’m stuck with Beauty and the Beast forever. “Okay, then.”
If I treat a thirty-year-old like a five-year-old, I can’t be surprised she clings to a blankie. Although, come to think of it, she didn’t cling. She accepted the slumber bag’s use as a pipe protector but wants to think it will always be in the family home, waiting for her next visit.
I guess I can live with that.
What about you? Have you sent mixed messages that turned around and bit you? If a hotel offers a free breakfast, is it a must-have or do you pass?