I spent this afternoon and evening in the “Parenting Twilight Zone.” Ever been there? It. Is. FAB.
Let me explain.
It started when I had to borrow my teenagers car after they got home from school.
“Sure mom. Anything for you! ” they chirped. Twilight Zone stop #1.
I open the door and of course it is full of empty soda cans, gum wrappers and general crap all over. And it stinks like armpit. Like AXX sprayed on sweaty armpit. No surprise there. I start the car and the radio, left on from when they just drove home, is tuned to NPR. N. Freakin' P. R. When I am in the car driving, sure, I tune it to that, but on their own? You mean they just drove 30 minutes home from school jamming out to “All Things Considered?” Twilight Zone stop #2
I left to take one of the boys to piano. I had already sort of prepped dinner. Still had to boil pasta, pop chicken parm in the oven, and heat up the sauce, but I could do it when I got back home.
I walk in after piano, and I smell it. The chicken is DONE. The pasta is DONE. And the sauce is simmering on stove. What the ever living Mario Batali happened to my children?
“Thank you for starting all this before you left mom. Dinner is so good!” Twilight Zone stop #3
Everybody eats EVERYTHING. Did my children not breakfast or lunch today? Zone stop #4.
After dinner one of the teens takes the two little ones to play golf. He does this on his own, without being asked, without whining “Do I have to take them with me?” They leave without a peep. They have on collared shirts. I. am. speechless. Zone stop #5
My oldest heads out to chess club. He didn’t need to be reminded he had it tonight. He left early. He was dressed nicely. He said he was excited to play that 80 year old guy again tonight. Hold up, I think the almost 17 year old has turned 57 years old today. Zone stop #5.
I am sitting all alone on the couch at 7 p.m. wondering what spaceship came down and kidnapped my sons, leaving me four Stepford children. I am alone, eating ice cream, at a time of day when the crap is just really ramping up ready to hit the fan. But the house is currently crap free. #6.
They all return home. There is no fighting. No late attempts at trying to finish homework. Nope. It’s all done. They pack their bags, shower, and head to bed. Zone number SEVEN!
What. The. Heck. Is. Happening. Here?
You know when your kids go spend the night at another family’s house and when they get back the parents tell you your kids made the bed, brought their dishes to the sink, said please and thank you, and was polite, respectful and a delight to have over?
Well I have a theory. The “Twilight Zone Kids” theory.
Last night my kids thought they were spending the night at their buddies house. The nagging mom in the kitchen? Nope. Wasn’t me. It was Mrs. So and So from down the street. Basically they came home from school and walked into another dimension. The “It’s not my house so I am gonna be really awesome dimension.”
I’ll take it. I don’t care how it happened, but this dimension of the sight of my kids cooking dinner and the sound of nobody fighting, this journey into a wondrous land of me not imagining them being great young men but them ACTUALLY being great young men? Holy Rod Serling I’ll TAKE IT!!
My kids, your kids, everybody’s kids…. listen, we’re doing OK moms. We really are. We are raising great people. Sometimes we choose to only see the weaknesses, the failures, the annoyances. But then an evening spent in another dimension, spent watching the lessons we have preached ad nauseam for weeks, months, years, finally reveal themselves in ways we have prayed about? Well, it is pretty FAB.U. LOUS!
Tomorrow morning will come, and there will be devious boy antics and impatience, grumpy-ness, short tempers, and smart mouths. But tonight? Nope. Tonight was just me in the ZONE. Maybe we should rename it the “Mom Is Kicking Ass Zone.”