Counting Down Until August 22nd

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girl-sitting-outside-at-night Image via Shutterstock

I was so happy when my daughter, the always delightful Fangette, graduated from high school in the spring. Finally. All the bullshit was over… Or, so I thought.

She’s been home this summer. She’s working here and there at her movie theater job, but she’s home more than she’s not home. I know that come August 22nd when we deposit her and her belongings in Burlington, Vermont, I’ll miss her terribly. Right now, though? Not so much.

At the moment I’m putting up with lots of demands for egg salad sandwiches and runs to the mall. She cannot seem to ever find a beach towel (or a regular towel) when she needs one. And don’t even get me started on where her favorite sandals are. I hope that her roommates can keep better track of her stuff than I can. I hope that they have mastered boiling an egg. I wonder if there’s a place for these skills on the roommate matching forms?

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Probably not. This is likely part of the reason that they go away to college at all. In addition to the academic component of a university education, I’m guessing that keeping track of her own shit and learning to make a sandwich will be among the things, along with organic chemistry, that she will learn to master while she’s away at college.

Knowing Fangette as I do, though, I’ll bet she surrounds herself with people who will do these things for her. She’s a person that just naturally gathers minions. For the last 18 years, I’ve been one of them. I cannot wait until August 22nd.

It feels like a release date — from prison or from the mental institution where I’ve been languishing for years. It really does.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to teach my daughter to do things for herself. I have. And I’ve been successful in some areas. She knows what she has in the bank to the penny. She can shower and dress herself. And she’s timely. She gets her schoolwork done. Tardiness of any kind irritates her. She gets that from me.

Unlike me, but much like her father, she cannot make an appointment — for car service, for the dermatologist — to save her life, although I’ve noticed that she has no trouble scheduling mani-pedis. Luckily she won’t have her car on campus next year. She has to find a dermatologist though — we’ve spent years and buckets of money keeping her acne at bay. I suppose that I could take some comfort in the fact that if she doesn’t attend to her skin, at least her nails will look nice. I’m sure she’s already Yelped the best nail salons in Burlington, VT.

She likes to carry on about becoming an independent woman. I’ve told her that doing her own laundry would be a step in the right direction. As would procuring her immunization records from the pediatrician.

I think she’s done one load of laundry from start to finish in her life. As for the immunization records, I know I’ll have to get them. They’re just as important to me as they are to her, given that they are a necessary component to my release date.

The other night on one of our many trips to the mall to secure this, that, and the other thing, we enjoyed dinner together. She told me that she was bothered by all of the injustice in the world, that she hoped to find a way — during or after college — to use her skills to make a difference in the world. That’s admirable.

I told her that she might want to start by making a difference in my world — picking up after herself, making her own pasta, buying her own strawberries. She rolled her eyes, which was her way of saying, “Mom, you don’t get it. I’m talking about saving the WORLD here!”

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I got it. I really did. She’s always on me about being a better housekeeper, a more organized person. I took this opportunity to quote Ghandi. I told her that she should “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. She looked at me like I was crazy. She asked me if I thought that I wasn’t diminishing Ghandi by using his words to get her to do something as pedestrian as laundry.

I can’t be sure, not having known Ghandi myself, but I’ll bet he would be supportive of my efforts. I’m pretty sure he had teenagers. I’ll bet they rolled their eyes at him, too. I told her to go ahead and find me a picture of Ghandi in a dirty and/or wrinkled sari. I’m still awaiting that piece of evidence.

In an effort to be the change I wish to see in my world, I’m going to do a little cleaning and organizing today. After all, I want to make Ghandi proud. (Don’t we all?) I can’t start on it right away though. I have to get on the phone with the pediatrician’s office and the car dealership and straighten some things out for Fangette. Who knows how long that will take?

I can’t be sure, but I think I hear Ghandi “tsking” right now. I absolutely know he’s shaking his head.

As for me, I just keep thinking “August 22nd, August 22nd, August 22nd!”

Related post: Do Your Laundry Or You’ll Die Alone 

Comments

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  1. 5

    says

    Lucky you, my daughter’s going to a local college … I am not as thrilled as you about August 22n … or in my case Sept 2nd … because I’ll still have to do it all … she doesn’t even know her own password to her college email yet! I’ve set it up … sigh … in her defense though, she does her own laundry … only for the clean stuff to end up on her floor next to her dirty stuff so I’m sure she’s washing the clean stuff all over again … sigh …

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    • 6

      ah says

      Good luck ladies!!! I sent a perfectly great child to college LAST year and let me tell you this summer has been one from hell! Apparently you want to be treated like an adult and keep your own hours without having to do something as pedestrian as get a job or help with the household chores. All you are doing is counting the days till you can go back to college. Well you and me both child!!!! What they don’t seem to get is how disruptive they are to our lives!! Sorry to say toots but my household ran pretty freaking smooth without ya!! So here we are going our separate ways again. I love her and will miss her but it will take a few weeks….

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      • 7

        B says

        When I went away to college, my mother immediately disassembled my bedroom. She either threw away all my belongings that I didn’t take to college or moved them into the attic for me to discover after they die. My little sister moved into my bedroom and her old room was turned into a guest bedroom. So, when I came home, I came home as a “guest.” Yes, it hurt a little but it was very clear to me that I was no longer her “child” who could depend on her to solve all my problems. I was considered an adult. On the other hand, in my few months away, I had gained experience worrying about friends and roommates who failed to return when they said they would. I was mature enough not to leave my mother waiting up for me in worry past midnight (my pre-existing curfew leftover from high school). Probably needless to say, I made sure to never ever have to “go back home” again. That was at Christmas. The following April/May, I moved out of the dorms into “my own place.” That was over ten years ago. I am now the married mother of two sons. My husband and I make it on our own. No, we don’t own nice cars and we rent or home, unlike many of our friends. But do you know what we do do? We pay for it ALL on our own. We manage childcare on our own. My friends who have nice cars? Mommy or Daddy bought it for them. My friends who own a home? Daddy bought it or mommy watches the kids for free, saving them hundreds every month. My friends with great jobs who flunked out of college? They still work for dad. I’m not saying every parent should cold shoulder their kids out like mine did but if you don’t ever cut the cord, you may still find yourself supporting your adult children instead of investing in your retirement.

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    • 11

      Christine says

      Agreed! Maybe the focus was on other things…it sounds like her daughter has a good understanding of money and how it works, and that’s tough to teach. I was much more amused by the teenage mind and how the correlation between “saving the world” and “doing your part” didn’t quite match up. Oh, teenagers.

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  2. 12

    says

    I couldn’t even finish reading this one. I hate when people whine about the monster that they created. You don’t want to do your daughters laundry, then STOP. She is 18, she’s going to figure it out, because she is not going to walk around in stinky clothes. She makes you do these things because you will. Just stop.

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    • 13

      says

      You ever heard of sarcasm? Writers use it a lot to make their point. We all use it to make points. And here’s a newsflash for you – if you consider an 18 year old a monster b/c she doesn’t do her own laundry, you seriously need to experience the real world in a larger spectrum. In a world where so many awful things are happening, you choose to waste 5 minutes of your life to criticize someone you’ve never met about an issue that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. #ignorant

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    • 15

      says

      Sarcasm, the use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Please, Christina, point to anything ironic in the article. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
      I’m sorry if you have never heard of the phrase “created a monster.” It does not mean an actual monster or even being monster like. Have a good day, Pot, or Kettle, which ever you prefer! LMAO :)

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    • 16

      says

      Perhaps a little explanation of my small world would help you understand why I get irritated when I see ppl making judgments of others without knowing details. I have a teenager. I do every single bit of his laundry, every single week. You might not agree with that, and that’s fine. But when you learn that my teenager is earning all A’s in all AP classes, will go into college as a sophomore, has a part-time job, does other chores around the house, changes the oil in my car, and various other things that make my life easier, you might think he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders. Those things aren’t my favorite things about my son though. He is an AWESOME person; he volunteers twice a week at a nursing home (his idea entirely), he donates regularly to both a homeless shelter and veterans association, he opens doors and has excellent manners. So now that you know more FACTS about how I’ve raised my AWESOME son, are you going to judge me and say my son is a “monster” because I do his laundry? Really? The point is simple – it’s so very easy to judge a mom based on a few tidbits of information you have. When you learn the entire story though, you may change your opinion. And I will continue to do my “monster’s” laundry. ;)

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    • 17

      says

      If you are happy with your arrangement, that’s great. This mother is complaining… publicly…about her daughter for a situation that the mother has created. She has created the monster is a common idiom, it does not that her daughter is a monster. My issue is with her complaining about her daughter’s behavior, whatever the behavior is, that the mother has allowed. It is an easy fix, but the mother would rather complain about it and publicly out her daughter.

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    • 19

      says

      If this author is so proud of her awesome daughter, then maybe the author shouldn’t make it seem like her kids is so clueless and lazy. The author gives the reader that impression and assumption…not vise versa. I know if my child were responsible for most things in their life, but lacked a few key areas of responsibility I wouldn’t write a blog post about how lazy my child is.

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    • 21

      says

      I didn’t really find humor in this blog. I get that she was going for the light and funny side of things. But really I just pity her situation; one that she created for herself. That makes it hard for me to laugh with her after the fact. ;)

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  3. 28

    says

    My 22 month old helps switch the laundry over. There’s no excuse. I’ve already started teaching my 9 year old to cook because I told him it’s only 9 more years until you’re an adult and you need to know this stuff. My mom never taught me or prepared me for cooking, laundry, budgeting so that’s a priority for me with my children.

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  4. 29

    says

    I make my kiddos (even my autistic son) do jobs. One cuts the grass, does laundry and vacuums. The one with autism is on KP duty. He clears the table, scrapes the plates, loads the dishwasher. He washes out the sink, cleans the counters and uses the vacuum on the wood floors. My 10 year old daughter brings up the empty garbage cans (in summer there’s sometimes maggots and they don’t gross her out), she keeps her room clean and she brushes the dog, vacuums the other rooms and feeds/waters the dog and cats. She scoops the litter. I’m going to hit enter and continue,

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    • 31

      says

      I was once an 18 year old mom, who became a 21 year old divorced mother of three. I worked all the time and my kids were often with couch potato babysitters. I didn’t have the ability to be there. Stuff happened. They went off into life less than prepared, other than my oldest, who had always been a do-it-Yourselfer. When I had three kids later in life, I took on a SAHM role. I did a lot for everyone. Finally I got ticked off at them wanting everything done for them and I made them step up to the plate. It was hard. But they managed. I tried to make it fun, but hauling down the trash is never fun. Nor is cutting the grass (which my oldest does). I don’t pay them for work. I tell them that we ALL do jobs. But I also thank them, hug them and when they get mouthy, I take the internet router and lock it in a desk drawer. Bad mommy. (Insert evil laugh here)

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