Thursday, February 24, 2011
JUST LOOK AT THAT ROOF!
My kids are talking to each other, fast and furiously by e-mail, and that makes me laugh.
These “kids” range in age from 50 to 54, and it isn’t that they all have been mad at each other and NOT talking, but they live scattered from Alaska to Rialto, all are busily employed and busy with their families. They communicate occasionally with each other, but recently one of my daughters drove by the house where they lived during their school years and snapped a photo of the house, now up for sale. She sent the picture by e-mail to her sibs, along with a short commentary, and that started off a flurry of reminiscences. They have copied me on all, or at least some, of the e-mails.
If I am to believe what they are writing, the oldest two spent a lot of time during the 7 years we lived there climbing out a window, walking across the roof and climbing down a tree on the left hand side of the house to avoid their dad and me from seeing that they were not tucked away in their beds. Their bedrooms were upstairs and the master bedroom was downstairs, so that was possible. However, the subject tree was right outside our bedroom window.
We moved to that house when my son, the oldest, was 8 and moved away when he was 15. So you can guess about when all this nighttime activity occurred. Those dormer windows in front opened into my son’s bedroom, so the neighbors truly might have seen him scurrying around on the roof, along with the tree rats and other critters that always seemed to be running around in the attic. On the back side of the house was a similar set of windows, which opened from the landing, and apparently those are the ones my oldest daughter used. To think that I had children running around on the roof and shinnying down trees all night long and not one neighbor ever alerted me. We all tried to be on the lookout for each others kids, making sure they were safe outside, but I suppose no one ever thought to watch my roof.
Do I believe their stories? Do I believe that I snuck out of the house when I was a teenager and my parents didn’t know it?
I did. They didn’t. And I never got caught. I never left the property, either. My bedroom had an outside doorway and it was a simple matter to open the door, step out onto the little side porch and sit on the steps with my boyfriend. It seemed to me it was worth the risk of being “caught” to have another half-hour or so with him before he headed home to beat his curfew, which was a tinch later than my own. My folks trusted me to behave, and I did. It wasn’t until a couple years later when I was in college that my one infamous escapade happened -- of not coming home after work and instead defying my parents by going to a beach party with friends. I came home at midnight to find two policemen sitting in the living room with my worried parents. I don’t remember what the upshot of that event was. I was mad at my parents to begin with because they objected to a fellow I wanted to date, and I just wanted to “show them” that I’d pick my own friends. I probably got put on restriction, but that was a long time ago and I’ve just forgotten the details.
Just as I may have forgotten the details of what I knew about my own kids’ escapades. I do remember that when my youngest started into junior high school I got a call from the mother of one of her friends, stating that she had caught them smoking and what was I going to do for punishment. I told her that I’d gone through things like this with my three other children and that I would talk to my daughter, but that all kids tried smoking at this age, even me, and I didn’t think it was anything to worry about. So I at least was not totally in the dark about my little darlings.
There have been times when my kids have remembered something that happened and been way off base, either on what happened or on their interpretation of it. But I tend to think they probably are sharing close to the truth with each other and seeing it as a funny experience. All but my youngest have children who have passed through this stage and survived; her children are not yet teenagers so she’s got that wonderful time to look forward to.
As I watched those e-mails fly back and forth, overall I sensed that the kids thought they had a good childhood and were left with lots of good memories. From my perspective, I couldn’t have asked for more loving, caring kids – who all have become loving, caring parents. And that’s my reward!