Five days without cranky teenagers at home (Can I get a Halleluja?)

image They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. With that in mind, the thought of our three teenagers being gone for most of spring break makes us love them beyond words. In fact, the only way we could love them more is if they each found jobs and an apartment while they were gone.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we don’t enjoy spending time with our kids. Of COURSE we do! What kind of parents would we be if we didn’t enjoy the lighthearted banter we share each day, such as when I say:

“You need to wash your plate.”

And without skipping a beat, they reply:

“You’re ruining my entire LIFE!”

Ha! Ha! That’s why they are called “kids!” Not because they are like stubborn baby goats who, given the chance, will run horns-first into your knee caps. No! It’s because they’re kidders! So who are we, as parents, to selfishly deny them from spreading that kind of joy to others for five whole days during spring break?

Needless to say, having the house to ourselves for a week is going to take some getting used to. For example, we’ll have to get used to opening the refrigerator and finding more than just an empty carton of orange juice and some spilled ketchup that has dried into something resembling a fruit roll-up. Plus maybe someone’s gym sock.

We’ll also have to get used to taking warm showers since, without three teens using enough water to hose down the entire Budweiser Clydesdale team, we’ll actually have more than 90 seconds before a lack of hot water turns our morning shower into an audition for So You Think You Can Dance?

And I’m not sure how we’ll get used to turning on the television and not having a minor heart attack because the volume was apparently set for someone who lands fighter planes on an aircraft carrier. That’s assuming we can get used to finding the TV remote in the first place since those kidders won’t be here to leave it somewhere β€” such as between the couch cushions, in a different room completely, or in the shower. Actually, that might explain why the volume was so high.

Yes, not having our teens at home for a week will take some getting used to. In order to prepare ourselves for what we know will be a difficult transition, my wife and I have spent time talking together about our feelings. This has been extremely helpful. Once the giddiness passes, anyway. Which I blame on the wine. Not to mention that cartwheel I attempted.

But hey, we needed an excuse to get a new coffee table anyway.

I’m sure it will be different when, before long, they leave home to find their own way into the world. Suddenly, all the things we’ve come to accept and experience on a daily basis as parents will end. Once again, not having them here will take some getting used to. Especially knowing it’s for good. When that day comes, there will be tears. There will be hugs.

And no, there won’t be any cartwheels.

Not with what we just paid for that new coffee table.



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

63 thoughts on “Five days without cranky teenagers at home (Can I get a Halleluja?)”

  1. Giddiness for us all. My son just slept through the night in his very own bed for the first time EVER. And yes, I did have to sneak in and see if he was alive.

    1. Hahaha! I remember crossing that threshhold! Good for you! And yes, each time our kids slept through the night for the first time I had a mini panic attack πŸ˜‰

  2. Allow me to summarize what I took away from your tale:

    Blood is thicker than water. But maple syrup is thicker than blood. Ergo, pancakes are more important than family.

  3. Yes, Ned, once they move away, there will be tears and hugs. Until you subsequently hear these words: “Mom, can I move back in for awhile?” It’s funny how you will have forgotten all the annoying little things the darlings did until they’ve returned to do them again. But then they will move out a second [or third] time, and there will again be tears and hugs [but maybe not so much as the first time]. Enjoy your freedom while you have it.

    1. I know the “moce-back” is inevitable with at least one or two of our kids. With a total of four, the odds of a clean break are against us πŸ˜‰

    1. It’s been a long time since I cooked eggs and Linguica sausage for breakfast on a weekday wearing nothing but my underwear and a pajama top. So yeah, our week is going well! πŸ˜‰

  4. My ex actually found a rather unique solution to the angst of the “kids leaving home”. She sold the house to her son and moved into a condo downtown where she relishes her freedom. Ha! I guess she couldn’t get them out fast enough, so she took action and left home to discover herself. ha!

  5. I think I enjoyed this particular blog more than than I usually do. Yes, I usually enjoy your blogs. This one I can so relate to. And please let me know where I can send my teenager…..

        1. WAIT! Maybe I should reconsider! One of my sons says HE’S the ultimate Mindcraft expert. They could keep each other entertained for hours! Divide and conquer…

          1. This is mine blowing! WAIT! My son is already occupied/entertained/mesmerized/brainwashed for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours. I say we take turns housing them in a bedroom bunker this summer, every other week. Deal?

            1. Better yet, how about you send your son here and we’ll come stay with you this summer. I’ll make sure someone comes by each day to give the boys food, water and make sure they go potty.

  6. I look forward to the day when toothpaste remains properly in its tube instead of turning their sinks and bathroom counters into a Jackson Pollock masterpiece. It’s like they turn into Gary Busey during teeth brushing. Kidders, they are.

    1. LOL! Jackson Pollock! *snort*

      I’ve actually considered scraping the dried toothpaste blobs from the sink, putting them into a candy dish and offering them to my kids as after-dinner mints. Then, when it’s in their mouths, telling them where they came from.

  7. insert the song ‘oh happy day’ over my message of profound happiness and joy at the stay home honeymoon you shall be sharing. of course, i would plan to leave a few of their favorite take out containers in various places. i would post pictures of all the fun things you did, or implied you were going to do, daily on facebook with selfies taken in front of all of their normal hang out places. one needs to ensure they suffer pangs of embarrassment of what they think you may have done in their absence, after all…

    1. Lol! I promise It’s not as bad as it sounds. Most days. But only when they are teens, which only lasts a few years β€” but it’s worth it πŸ˜‰

  8. Ah, can’t wait for those teen years! Yesterday, my 5-year-old spit in my face when I told her to put her coat on. I keep telling myself it will get easier when she’s older. :/

    1. Haha! As long as you let your daughters know first, I suppose there’s no harm. Who knows, by then our sons might be roommates taking turns living under our houses.

  9. Shoot, being a non-parent I was hoping to rent your teenagers for the week. I should’ve known all the good kids would already be booked.

  10. You need to wash your plate is the end of the world*. I mean, come on.

    *This brought to you by the 37-year-old with a sink full of dishes.

No one is watching, I swear...

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