Posts Tagged ‘nagging’

For the past few weeks, my 16-year-old son has been away in the Adirondacks, working at a family-run lodge on a pristine lake ringed with tall trees and a few campsites. With the other high school and college kids who make up the staff, he helps serve and clear meals, which are eaten family style in an open-air building with wooden canoes hung from the rafters. He splits wood, mows grass, strips beds. He drives a little Deere tractor to take the guests’ luggage to and from their cabins, which are lit only by Coleman lanterns. In his free time, he can go hiking, kayaking or sailing, or stretch out on a couch on the lodge porch to read a book or sleep. What makes it really unique, though, is that he is completely unplugged. There is no cell service and no wi-fi. This means my son not only is having a vacation from the constant lure of Facebook and texting, but is having what I have come to recognize must be a welcome respite from me.

Last spring I spent eight days in Kenya on a business trip. With the time difference and the difficulty of phoning home, communication with my husband and sons was limited to a few check-ins by email. A day or two after I got back, I found myself in the familiar position of standing in the doorway to the den, grilling my son about the status of his homework and suggesting that studying was perhaps a better use of his time than playing League of Legends. He sighed, turned to me and said, “Do you know that the week you were away was the least stressful week I’ve had in months?” (more…)

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Many decades ago, when I was a girl who didn’t like being bothered to do anything that would cut into my daydreaming and reading time, my mother embarked on a crafts project. She designed and embroidered two pillows for me. The first depicted colorful little snails and the curving words, “Don’t Rush Me.” The second was adorned with tiny insects with the heading “Don’t Bug Me.” Why did my mother take the time to stitch these charming little pillows? Let’s just say I drove her to it.

I’ve been thinking about those pillows lately as my teenaged sons greet my requests to do, well, anything, with the same sort of exasperated annoyance I once apparently perfected. Those pillows, still nestled in a box somewhere in my mother’s attic, remind me that I once was more like my boys are now than I usually admit. When I ask for the umpteenth time that they don’t walk into the house in their mud-caked baseball cleats or remind them to put their dirty clothes into the hamper, I certainly don’t find myself thinking “gee, like mother, like sons!”

But those pillows are proof that I was not always a grown up, and that the journey from being a child who thinks parents are uptight and obsessive about such absurdities as household chores to becoming an adult who actually hangs up a wet bath towel without being told to do so is a very long one. (more…)

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