Copernicus has to call a lot of people these days. Brides to be, new parents, the Kardasians. He's had me on speed-dial this holiday season, but it's not just me... see, I'm learning.
My son and his wife are lovely people, but they will not be on time. If Bob and I were Noah and wife, our population would be down by a third. Three hours later, knee deep in the big muddy, my son and his adorable family would be at the dock.
In my family, there are only three or four occasions a year that require precise timing. Christmas is one of them. This year, they finally showed up three hours late, after we were packing up and getting ready for the next stop on our Christmas tour. It was great to have the babies there at all.
Yesterday, New Year's day, they were making the collards. My son was two and a half hours late, and my husband had already gone to prepare for the Taize service at the church. Everyone who was eating had already eaten. There is a pot of collards going to waste somewhere. Bob is angry. I am angry.
But, we are also not without blame. We have allowed our son and his wife to treat us like this for the last four years. "They have to get the babies together. They are sick. They are under a lot of pressure."
Let's think about this. If I had "friends" who did this to me, would I continue to invite them to things? Would I continue to count on them? Of course not.
The fact that this is my son and his wife; people I love and cherish, parents of my darling grandchildren --- that means that I'll put up with a little more. It also means I need to take some responsibility here.
Retroactive parenting is a dangerous thing, especially if you are trying to parent other people's children as well as your own. If you blew it the first time, you don't get a do-over. However, teaching expectations in regard to yourself is essential for a responsible and maybe happy life.
And so, this is what Bob and I have to do.
- We have to tell our son and his wife we are angry.
- We have to tell them that if they don't want to do something with us to tell us, but don't back out at the last minute or be several hours late.
- We have to follow through & the next time they are that late, they will find an empty table with nothing but dishes to wash.