Slowly turning into your mother
“T hat’s it ” I’m going to have to start charging money,” Marianne admitted to me on the phone the other morning. “No more freebies … How much do you think I could get per night?”
I was aghast.
“First of all, I don’t think it’s legal,” I warned her. “Secondly, I don’t think you should charge anything at all because I don’t think you’ll be able to get that much money.”
But my best friend was sick and tired of her three teenagers coming and going at all hours of the day, sleeping in and lounging around all day. And she was going to find a way to control it, by golly.
“I think I’ll charge them $25 per week to get in the house,” Marianne announced.
“You mean, like a cover charge for a night club?” I said with surprise.
“Yup, and I’ll even stamp their hand,” she said firmly.
I thought $25 was a little steep, seeing as there wasn’t even going to be a live band or anything …
But Marianne had reached a time in her life when her cute little babies had grown up to be rowdy little teenagers ” something I had laughed and warned her about years ago.
“Oh man, if they’re anything like you and I were, you’re going to have your hands full,” I had teased. “They’ll stay out all night, drive your car, date people with nose rings and play their music at insane decibels from their rooms.”
“Shut up,” was all she had said back then. “My kids won’t be like that.”
And now it had happened.
“They bring their friends over, hang out in the basement and eat me out of house and home,” Marianne continued to complain. “It’s like having a bunch of bottom-dwellers downstairs. The least they could do is help out around here.”
Her ravings were beginning to sound just a little bit familiar.
“What if they don’t have enough money to get in?” I asked, rather intrigued by the whole pay-per-enter idea.
“And are you going to sit at the door all night like a bouncer to collect?”
Marianne thought for a moment before answering.
“No, there will be set hours at the house,” she said decisively. “At a certain time, if they’re here, they’ll get locked in, and if not, they’ll get locked out. And they’ll have to get a job to pay or else sleep outside in a tent.”
Then I wondered how the kids were even going to get to work if they were locked in, but didn’t say anything …
“Sometimes they come home at 3 a.m.,” Marianne said, trying to justify her idea. “I don’t know what they’re doing at that hour, but it’s ridiculous.”
I didn’t want to point out that, while I didn’t know what they were doing, either, there are no, like, Bible study classes at that hour.
“This is not a hotel,” Marianne said emphatically.
Now THAT sounded really familiar.
I remember my own mother’s sayings when I was a teenager.
“If you’re going to live under MY roof, you’ll abide by MY rules!”
Or … “Just wait until you have children of your own!”
And then there was my all-time favorite explanation for why she wanted me to do something.
“BECAUSE I SAID SO!”
Which never really made sense to me, although I have to admit I use it on husband-head now and then when I’ve run out of explanations of why I want something done …
“You know who you sound like, don’t you?” I gently asked Marianne.
She knew exactly what I was going to say.
“I know, I know,” she confessed. “I sound just like my mother. I never wanted that to happen. But I don’t know how NOT to be my mother.”
Later on, I reiterated our conversation to husband-head.
“Honey, do I ever remind you of my mother?” I asked him honestly.
Husband-head looked aghast and then slowly shook his head.
“Yes, I’m afraid you do,” he admitted. “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree …”
Heidi Rice is a Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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