I’m not afraid of someday having an empty nest because I’ve got a list. This list is going to make me smile, dance a happy jig even, every time I feel a twinge of sadness when my children are off at college.
This isn’t a bucket list I’m talking about.
I’m not saying a bucket list isn’t great, but a lot of that bucket stuff takes some serious cash. One just doesn’t experience on-the-spot happiness by thinking that way off in the future. And only if your long term care health insurance premiums don’t rise, you might see India on the back of an elephant.
The list I have is far superior because it’s instant gratification. I have started an inventory of all the things my children do that annoy me. As of today, it’s at 218 points of supreme irritation.
Now, I know you’re thinking only 218? Wow, mine would be 218,000. But, in fairness, I only started the list two years ago when my son went off to college and I was down to only kid left at home. Thus I began to fear the future of being childless. So, in the sort of backwards version of counting your blessings I started my List of Reasons I Will be Happy When My Kids Aren’t Around 24/7 Driving Me Crazy.
It has items on it like No. 23: No more having to get kids out of bed.
My daughter can hear when she gets a text even if her phone is on silent and she’s in another county, but she can’t wake up to a freaking alarm! This makes me the Big Ben of the family. It wouldn’t be that much of a deal, except I have to go back into her bedroom multiple times to make sure she’s up.
I start out with a chipper, “It’s a great day to be a mustang!”
This phrase irritates my daughter, like no other, because it’s on all the Blue Valley North high school announcements. And you know what gets kids out of bed? Being irritated.
However, this is just the start. After my fourth trip to her room, I finally have to go with the walking to school threat to get her vertical.
The whole thing is very draining and so not how I like to start my day. This is why I know deep in my heart that when I’m sad and I look at No. 23 and I’ll feel a whole lot better.
Now, of course, my family knows I have a list and it’s a wonderful thing. Primarily because when they do something that really annoys me I can scream, “You can bet that’s going on the list!” Last weekend was a list spectacular due to my children openly mocking me about my decorating taste.
I just got my dining room updated from yuck to yum. The glory of the room is some cheerful yellow wallpaper and a light fixture that may or may not resemble a disco ball. I was gloriously happy with the room until my children saw it and shared their not-asked-for opinion.
My daughter told me it looked like the set from “That 70’s Show.”
My son jabbed the knife in further and proclaimed that I could sell tickets for people to see it due to the “Yikes factor.”
Then my daughter came back for another verbal punch and asked, “What exactly do you think your decorating style would be called, mom? I’m thinking there might not be a word for it.”
I proudly replied while stuttering, “It’s, it’s, rage about the beige!”
“Oh, it’s raging all right,” was my son’s smug reply.
My only comeback was, “This, all of this, is so going on the list.”
And it did. Coming in at No. 217.
I’m now thinking about starting a list featuring my husband’s annoyances. Number 1 would be when I asked him if he liked the dining room.
After my children giving me attitude, he had the gall to pile on with, “Um, I think we all know it’s really never about what I like.”
And then they all laughed.
My family, all of them, so very list worthy.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.