May 25, 2013
Written by Joe PIsani
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 23:00
My last daughter finally moved out, and for the first time in a long time, the toothpaste isn’t dripping all over the medicine cabinet because someone was too lazy to put the cap on.
I consider that a significant milestone, and suddenly I feel good in the morning. I feel good because the tube is being squeezed from the bottom and not the top. I feel good because the house doesn’t reek of perfume. I feel good because no one is babbling on the cell phone at 2 a.m.
The month before my daughter moved out, she backed into my car and caused $2,000 in damage and later broke the head off a 100-year-old statue, but I’m willing to forgive those accidents because it’s a brand new day. In fact, I’m so psyched I bet I’ll win Lotto this week. However, I have to confess I miss her. There are no more family feuds and no mealtime arguments to keep my mind active, which means I’ll have to start doing Sudoku.
Now that she has her own apartment, she’s a new woman. She folds her laundry, she makes her bed every morning, and she washes the dishes instead of leaving them in the sink for archaeologists to discover 500 years from now and scratch their heads, wondering what Hot Pockets were.
I suspect personal responsibility doesn’t really start until kids go out on their own, whether they’re 20, 30 or 40. Sometimes they never develop those household skills and their new living quarters — especially dormitory rooms — look like prehistoric cave dwellings where our ancestors cohabitated with wolves before Paris Hilton popularized the Chihuahua.
When you’ve had someone pick up after you all your life, you never learn the necessary skills. I know from firsthand experience. God rest her soul, my mother did it all, willingly and without complaining. Even now, I know grown men whose mothers still do everything for them. You can always count on Mom.
I’m certainly not the world’s greatest house cleaner, and I’ve been accused of leaving dirty dishes in the sink, hoping someone else will wash them, but in my defense, I’m no slob, and I know how to put the toothpaste cap on.
Sad to say, when the zealots in my home “pick up” after me, I can never find anything because their compulsive cleaning leads to chaos. In the morning, I’ll fumble around to find my contact lens solution, but it’s vanished. Later, I’ll look for my shoe shine kit, but it’s been moved to the basement. And where’s my air rifle? Hidden somewhere in the attic, I suspect.
My storage system is simple. I put as much as I can on my nightstand or under the bed so I always know where things are.
Anyway, I’m learning to love the empty nest, but the bliss might not last. With all the economic woes, kids are moving back with their parents, and I sometimes wake up suffering panic attacks because I fear my four daughters will be standing at the front door with their suitcases. Hide the toothpaste.
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