I believe it is fair and accurate to say that our “kids” have completed the journey through adolescence, and both have become (in my humble, but deadly accurate opinion) interesting and responsible young adults.
Ample evidence of this was readily available during their extended stay in our home over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Lights were turned out when they left their temporary living quarters, in the lower level of our multi-level home! Since they moved out to be on their own years ago, we’ve converted the “spare bedroom” into a craft studio for my wife, another has become “storage” for seasonal clothes, and our lower level consists of a bedroom, full bath, and large “living area”, in which they set up an air-mattress bed. We used to call the lower level of our home the Free Energy Area, because they’d NEVER turn off the lights when they left.
I suspect the last several years of paying their own electricity and gas bills has taught them the virtue of saving energy.
My wife and I are early-risers, which means we’re early to bed. For the three nights that our kids (and their significant others) stayed with us, they stayed up late, conversed, played games (like Scattergories – I have no idea what this is), and did their best to exhaust my supply of beer and liquor (with my blessing), all while being quiet enough to never once rouse us. Not that many years ago, they’d come home from work or whatever and bang doors, stomp around, blast the TV, and in general act like there was nobody else to be concerned about. Not this time. I’m sure they had plenty of fun, but were also considerate and quiet.
After the huge Thanksgiving feast, they all pitched in and helped clean up the dining room and kitchen, without being asked! What excellent guests!
Saturday they went to the Badgers-Penn State game (photo above: our son Dru is far left with his fiancée Ashly; our daughter Mallory is third from the left, with her beau, John; and their friend Breanna and her friend Adam are on the right). They all piled into my huge, gas-sucking, foreign-made SUV and I dropped them off at the campus-area home of their friend Luke, for a little pre-game partying. Unlike the prior generation, these young people will NOT drive after they’ve been drinking. Their cars stayed in our driveway and they cabbed it home after the game.
They came home from the game and a bit of post-game partying sober (Mallory and John were home about 7:30 PM and Dru and Ashly were here an hour later), mixed themselves some drinks, and entertained themselves into the wee hours, long after my wife and I and the dogs had gone to bed. Not that long ago, they probably would have been candidates for detox after a Badgers game and some heavy post-game partying.
When they pulled up stakes Sunday late morning, they policed and straightened up the “lower living area”, neatly piled the extra blankets, and Mallory collected their towels and put them into the washing machine and started the laundry cycle. Not that many years ago, they would have left the lower living level in a shambles, with all the lights on and towels strewn everywhere. Dru and Ashly headed back to Milwaukee, where they now live, and we took Mal and John to the airport for their 1 PM flight back to New York.
They manage their own lives, their own finances, their careers, and are independent, but respectful and considerate. They participate actively in conversation, seem enthusiastic about their daily routines, and are a real joy to be around.
They’ve grown up and have become interesting young adults. For this, we give thanks.