Shut The Door: A Letter To The Kids I Love

Spring break is almost over. You’re almost back to your routines. But like it always does, summer break will be here in, like, two seconds (give or take). And you will be home all day, for weeks on end.

And, that’s cool. I love the lazy mornings. I love that I don’t have to make lunches before I’m done eating breakfast, like I do on school days. I love that you spend most of your days alternately playing and getting bored, but not sitting at a desk.

I love having you around. I even love having your friends around. Creating, imagining, laughing and generally being loud. Exploring your independence, inventing new games, learning lessons, not worrying about homework, going on adventures.

snorkel

But I need you to shut the door.

Like, I need you to. Just shut the door when you leave. If you change your mind, you can open it again. I promise. Same goes for the fridge.

Also, can you – for the love of everything – put your socks away? You don’t have to save dirty socks, as if they’re your only pair. We have tons of socks. If you run out, we have more. I have probably 30 pairs myself – and they’re weird – but if you’re desperate there will always be socks in this house for you. Always. So put the dirty ones in the hamper.

“Because I said so” is a reason, no matter what you think. It just is. You can’t jump off the wall in our backyard, because I said so. You can’t turn on the hose when it’s 60 degrees out, because I said so. You can’t go blow 20 bucks on massive sodas and bags of sugar, because I said so. Sorry. It’s reason enough, because I said so.

It will never matter if your brother or sister saw 12 balloons and you think he or she saw only 11. It won’t ever matter, even if you go back and forth with him or her over and over, each of you declaring the number you believe is correct at increasingly high volumes. It won’t ever matter. Ever. And you will never resolve it. Move on. And remember this idiotic exchange when you need to eject from other idiotic conversations later in life.

I don’t want you to be mad at me for being a parent. I don’t. It stinks. But I’d much rather have you mad at me, collectively, than mad at each other. A million times I’d want that. I never had siblings, but I think that the whole “parents don’t understand” common ground is a bonding agent, among other things. And, you need each other. Those moments, among others, remind you of that.

There will be days you won’t want to come to me with something. Or, you won’t be able to. And you will need each other. That’s why I try so hard to make sure you understand each other, that you understand how to work together to find solutions, that you talk about differences and that you can see me when I’m the outsider of your world – and know I’m okay with where I’m standing.

hiking

I’m a parent. I’m supposed to be on the outside, sometimes. I just need to make sure you don’t become a jerk. It’s my purpose.

It’s not about college, or millions of dollars or acclaimed success. It’s just, for me, about making sure you’re not jerks. Now, and later. And, knowing you, I don’t think that will be too challenging.

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So, just shut the door. Would ya? And growl about my nagging to each other, behind that closed door. It’s kind of what you’re supposed to do, too.

hug