This morning, my son was giving me grief about a consequence I had given. He blew curfew last night--even though I did receive a text this morning that he had sent last night saying he would be late. We had been firm about extending the curfew and his responsibility to be aware of time and be home "no later than." Since he was home "later than," he had a choice of a weeding job or an earlier curfew for the rest of the weekend. He chose weeding, then proceeded to give me attitude about the job I gave him.
I decided to take the (sort of) high road. I remarked that, since he was such a responsible young man and did not have many opportunities to receive such negative consequences of his behavior as weeding (ahem), that I would give him a few tips. #1 Ditch the attitude! #2 The consequence was not imposed/designed with his ultimate comfort in mind. #3 Ditch the attitude!
Grumpiness on both sides ensued, culminating in my yelling "SUNSCREEN!" to his fair-skinned self as he drove off to the beach. When we part badly, I find myself wondering, "If this were the last time I saw him, what would I want him to remember about what I said?" "SUNSCREEN!" does not top my list.
Nevertheless, he went his way, and we went ours--my husband and I realizing we were turning into a family where the adults could, in fact, go to the farmer's market on a Saturday, as well as run other errands without having to work them around kids' activities and other obligations. It was a lovely and productive day we had, stimulating the local economy.
Later, when tempers had cooled, the weeding had been satisfactorily completed, and apologies were offered and accepted, I marveled at the perfection of this day. Summer-like in weather, not too hot, not too cold. Filled with enjoyable activities with my spouse--a walk, an outing to the farmer's market, a purchase of an art piece for our office, planting flowers, reading on the deck--who knew one day could hold so many treasures? And I was grateful for a pact we had made early on in our parenting, that we wanted to be the house where kids could come. So when my son asked if "people could come hang out tonight," the answer was yes.
I sit here, looking out on a back yard alive with teenagers playing some version of whiffle ball, while a stack of board games (including Disney Princess monopoly, which I didn't even know existed prior to today) and chips await them when they are ready to come indoors. I am deeply grateful for 16-year-olds who gather in this manner to have fun, and deeply honored to provide a venue for them.
As the sun sets on this Saturday, I am happy. I wish you the joy of simple pleasures such as these, and the gratitude with which to appreciate them.