A piece of sage advice offered by a fellow Medium.com writer to those still in their twenties included the gem above, which sent me into gales of laughter. Now look, I don’t have kids. I am no longer one myself, not for many decades- well, at least by virtue of my age. However, the reason this tickled my funny bone so richly was that, as someone whose peers fall into the category of either beleaguered parents and/or grandparents, this just really hit the spot.
Imagine you’re a parent, which most of these sub-thirty-somethings largely are not. You have suffered several decades’ worth of feeding, housing, and raising your kids, along with all the verbal abuse from teenagers (you did, of course, drop at least forty IQ points along the way, get reduced to moron status, and find out that you were and perhaps still are a supreme embarrassment to your children).
Imagine you’ve slaved for years, decades, for the right to sell your home and take off. Play. Relax. Explore the world. In fact, this is your lifelong dream. By all accounts, you’ve earned it. If nothing else, you want the kids’ rooms to be turned into offices so that you can set up a home-based business. A craft room. After all, you spent decades paying for the house. You took out a second mortgage when one of your kids got busted for possession.
Both you and your husband took on second jobs to put said kids through college. Yet you persevered. Even when your kids flunked out, had to come home for a while (after you cleared out that bedroom which you had just turned into a quilting room) and situated said kid back in for a while. The kid who didn’t want to work at McDonald’s and help pay the rent or food. THAT kid.
Said kid finally went back to finish his degree. He graduated. So did the other kid, who seemed likely to be headed for a career in fashion design.
You are finally beginning to see the end of the tunnel. Faint light ahead. You and your husband begin your plans.
“Let’s get a campervan. Explore the West. If we scrimp we can do this for at least three years. Then come back and create a couple of home-based business. Or sell the house and move to a small apartment. That way we can spend a year exploring the world. Remember our dream to see Nepal? OMG I can’t wait…Maybe we can retire in Aruba?”
You get sparkles in your eyes. After all, you’ve earned it. You’re in your late fifties, and there’s just enough time for you to rework your lives on your own terms to really enjoy your time together. Without the kids for a while.
Then said kids, both of them, announce to you that they are moving back home. Right after you’ve contacted your real estate agent to put your place up for sale.
To save money for as long as possible, they say.
You look at your husband. Are you effing kidding me? What’s “as long as possible” mean? Another two decades?
The first thing that leaps to your mind: “I wonder if we could get away with an insurance fire?”
Your mind races. Am I going to be cleaning up used condoms in the kids’ bedrooms?
You look lovingly at your children and say you’d like some time to think about it, you say. Let us get back to you on that, you say. You eyeball each other. You’re not exactly thrilled about joining the some 79 million adults who have adult kids living at home https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2018/adults-live-with-children-fd.html.
You and your husband huddle.
You discuss subversive strategies. It’s time for serious guerrilla warfare here.
How about if we play The Captain and Tenille day in and day out? Muskrat Love? Margaritaville? Ben, by Michael Jackson? Surely they’ll run screaming out of the house. (so will we, but the kids will go first)
How about if we have constant parties with our friends, get drunk and sloppy, and embarrass the crap out of our semi-adult kids?
How about if we start a pig farm in the back yard and require the kids, as part payment, to take care of them and slop their shit? Chickens? Ducks? (duck shit is beyond foul, I can attest, I’m a farm girl).
Both of you really like that idea. However you also know that the neighborhood’s zoning regulations might create issues. For the short term, however…
How about we both walk around naked and have on sex on the couch whenever the kids want to make dinner or have their friends over?
How about we demand money from our kids so that we can go out with our friends? Go to MickyDs? Score a joint?
How about we smoke dope and fall asleep on the living room floor so that the Boomeranger kids have to trip over us in the mornings?
How about we get totally cabbaged, stumble into our kids’ rooms, then vomit on their carpet?
How about we both start wearing diapers, refuse to change them, and cry all day? Demand cookies and junk food and to be taken to the zoo? Scream at the tops of our lungs day and night? Become demanding and petulant and unpredictable? (all of which we’re going to become anyway in about three decades)
The list gets promising. Who knew a revenge fantasy could sound so good?
This might work out after all.